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N is for Not Quitting

Monday, July 17, 2017

Because I've been absent from SP so much recently, it may have seemed as if I'm about to quit, but that's not the case at all! So much is going in real life that it's been very hard to make time to sit down here and catch up, and since I'm afflicted with an all-or-nothing mentality, I can't limit myself to ten minutes for a Spark session. No, I have to go all out or not log in at all. I have to read every single blog every single friend has posted, or read none at all. I have to thank every single person who left a warm, supportive comment on my blog, or thank none at all. My compulsive personality won't let me just make a blanket statement thanking everyone in general, because what I love most about blog comments and my SparkFriends is their treasure-like individuality. Every single comment evokes a different response in me, and there's nothing I'd love to do more than tell each person how her comment made me feel. I wish I had enough time to do that, especially when people tell me their own stories in response to something I've said.

Anyway, I'm writing today to tell you why I've been absent so much and to say that I look forward to getting back into a Spark routine, for this place truly enriches my life and comforts my soul.

My father-in-law, who was scheduled to enter an old people's facility at the beginning of June, is still living at home. He keeps postponing entering the nursing home, and this means that my husband and I, and my husband's two sisters, feel like we have no choice but to take turns going to his house (a three-hour drive each way) to make sure he has enough food and that his house is sufficiently clean. My husband has a really demanding job and is away from home every day from seven in the morning until ten or later at night, and often on the weekends, too, and he is too tired to do much when we make the drive over to check up on my father-in-law, so I'm the driver the whole way while he sleeps or rests in the passenger seat, and then when we get to my father-in-law's house, I do all the cooking and cleaning, while my husband talks to his father, who, being alone most of the time, has a real need to talk. Fortunately, my husband and his father are deeply interested in the same topics, so they have long, loud discussions while I cook and wash the dishes and do whatever else needs to be done. I am not complaining, just stating. However, I must admit that while I understand my father-in-law's reluctance to leave the house he's inhabited for 89 years and nine months--he'll be 90 in October--I do have just a teeny tiny bit of resentment that he doesn't hurry up and start living in the nursing home, which he has already started paying for, as his contract started in June. It's a very nice nursing home, brand new, with a kind staff and good food, only a seven-minute walk from where he lives now. We all offered to bring my father-in-law into our homes, but he declined our offers. I am starting to think he wants to die before he is forced to leave the land where he was born, but he is in good health except for weakened legs that prevent him from walking far and make it dangerous for him to live alone. However, because his house is slated to be demolished a few months from now, due to long-planned road construction (for which he'll be generously compensated), I do know there is a time limit for how long his stalling can continue. There are no financial obstacles. He will have a private room with a pleasant view. Still, he lingers at home, and we all feel obliged to take care of him from afar.

Second, my son has been suffering mental and physical exhaustion and will be taking a leave of absence from his Japanese company. He's surrounded by good people, but the lifestyle of a Japanese corporate employee is extremely stressful. Overtime work is the norm. If you follow my blogs, you know that I teach English to Japanese businessmen at their companies, and whenever I ask these men what time they go home from work, almost all of them say nine or ten at night. Of course, they are paid well for this overtime work, but the long hours and pressure can take their toll. Like me, my son is a perfectionist and gets upset when he makes mistakes or can't do his job as well as he thinks he should, and being fatigued all the time has made it hard for him to think straight. I am grateful that the system here allows leaves of absence so that employees can recover from the conditions that the system created in the first place. Everybody knows something's got to give, and change in work culture is indeed happening, but change is too slow, and people still suffer and blame themselves for not being able to meet what they believe to be society's expectations.

So my son will be coming home in a couple of days for a few weeks of rest. I'm relieved and am looking forward to seeing him, but his upcoming stay reminds me that the more people there are in the house, the busier I tend to be.

Then there's my twin sister. She has polycystic kidney disease, which killed both my mother and grandmother. It's hereditary. My mother had four children, each of us with a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease. My sister, born fourteen minutes after me, was the only one of us four who inherited the disease. She has suffered various ailments due to the disease and is on the brink of entering stage 4, whereupon she will need a transplant or many hours of dialysis each week. My mother was not interested in receiving a transplant (I offered a kidney but honestly don't know if I could have gone through with donating) and went the route of a grueling dialysis schedule before dying at age 71 in 2002. My grandmother died in her late forties in 1952. Modern medicine marches on. My sister is still in the preliminary stages of being tested for a possible transplant. I must plan some visits to the US to support her through this process and try to spend some quality time together before she becomes too limited by a dialysis regime or the transplant ordeal.

Through all this (admittedly not bad compared to so many others' problems), I have been inconsistent in my motivation to regain my health (or gain it, as I'm not sure I've ever been very healthy).

To be perfectly honest, I have got to give up alcohol. I can go long periods without alcohol--weeks or even months--and then start drinking it again every day or every other day for several weeks.

This brings me to a question Caroline Knapp asked herself in her wonderful book Drinking: A Love Affair. After completing rehabilitation for alcoholism and then being smoothly and happily sober for a while, she finds herself lying in bed one night wondering "Am I really an alcoholic? Maybe I'm not." She has the urge to experiment. Just one drink, she thinks. That's all. I can handle just one drink. Then for a few minutes, she debates the issue inwardly of whether or not she's an alcoholic, concluding with the logical thought that if she were truly NOT an alcoholic, would she be lying in bed wondering if she WAS one, or fantasizing about having a drink? Thus did Caroline avoid relapse. I have never thought of myself as an alcoholic, though it runs through my family like kidney disease, but if I'm not an alcoholic, why is there so often a drink in my hand late at night, in times of both joy and sorrow?

Compulsive overeating and alcoholism are complicated and interrelated, but the solutions to these problems are not at all unclear. There's a difference between being simple and being easy. The solution to my problems is simple, but it may not be easy to carry it through.

To tell the truth, I'm pretty sick of making excuses, knowing deep down that whenever I make an excuse, whenever I postpone confronting my problems, that I've got everything backwards. While I have been abusing substances to help me cope with problems apparently too dreadful to acknowledge, the substances themselves have made everything much harder to face. In other words, I have underestimated my own strength. Life would seem MUCH less overwhelming and scary if I could overcome my addictions and face life with just my unaltered self. How mystically fulfilling it would be to recover the patience and strength required to get through time without substances to dull the pain of living!

Though I can't give much at the moment, except to share my experience, which I'm afraid is not much at all about weight loss, I keep coming back here because my SparkFriends shine so brightly. Instead of being absent from SparkPeople when I feel I have little to offer, I will come here with a humble heart and say thank you for the comfort and support. On many occasions, feeling very down and not intending to interact, I have logged in to SP and discovered a message on my friend feed or a comment on my blog, kindly sent by someone in a faraway place, someone I may never meet in real life, asking me if all is well, offering solace and support, telling me her own story, and giving me hope. Maybe I'm too sentimental, but thank you, dear SparkFriends.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Not quitting. Oh yeah. We are not quitting on trying to improve our health through weight loss/maintenance

    Although maybe quitting alcohol?

    Again, a great blog which somehow I missed.

    We do not of course need to comment on every blog (or no blogs): because "all or nothing" thinking is such a burden. Sparkies are in the aggregate pretty understanding about that . . . and engaging here as and when works for each of us individually in the big "experiment of one".

    I still after 40+ years without a single cigarette debate about maybe whether I could have just one? But although other people can smoke intermittently I'm pretty sure that's not for me: one cigarette away from a pack a day. Potato chips? Yup, having just a couple triggers yearnings that can shake me up for weeks. So sad too bad and better for me if I resist the first one.

    A glass of wine? That's OK for some reason -- I'll enjoy it and not think about it again for a week or two weeks or months. But for many of us with weight issues there is SOME addictive corner of our personalities . . . .

    995 days ago
    I'm am really sorry about your family having to deal with that health problem, and how your sister has it. It sounds very scary!

    I was reading about PKD, and I wonder if maybe it runs in my family as well. The cysts can appear other places, besides the kidneys, and my great-grandmother had a "water tumor" in her uterus that was 40 lbs! But it could have been a water cyst, originating in her kidneys. I don't know, all I know is I never heard of a "water tumor" before, and my grandmother had written her mother had that problem when she was a little girl. She had to take over for her mom and do a ton of chores, and look after the other children.
    1080 days ago
    emoticon Great blog! Thank you for all the nice comments that you've left for me on my blogs. I haven't been able to reply lately due to my laptop getting hot on my lap, and my tablet not letting me post any comments on my friends' pages. But I do appreciate your nice comments! I know how you feel about wanting to reciprocate and not being able to do that. I've been thinking of making a plan of what to do each day on SparkPeople, like at a minimum, and set up a time that I will be here and go through that list.
    1088 days ago
  • _BABE_
    N is for NOT quitting which is the only thing good I can say right now. emoticon
    1092 days ago

    As I read your blog I was amazed at all that you've got going on and STILL able to maintain sanity. A
    F-i-L who won't commit to something he's already paying for, which in a way I can understand, but then, I'm not dealing with this issue or the drive of 3 hours each way. You're doing all you can in this matter, yet the time will come when he's forced out and I think that's going to hurt more then if he chooses for himself.

    The hours your son and husband work I can identify with. I used to work 12 hour shifts (rotating from day to night every couple days) and commuted 2 hours each way in Southern California. Then I worked a great deal of overtime also and didn't really get into a cycle of rest. I gathered you were resentful for the way they work when you mentioned the companys' allowed them time off for what 'they created'. That I agree with totally, and it's something I didn't have available to me. Only vacation time which was limited.

    Now to the alcohol. Being a 'recovering alcoholic' I know what you were saying. The story of the lady lying in bed thinking, hit a nerve and a reminder of how close some of us can be to relapsing. Something I am grateful for every day.

    As for how often you're able to post a blog, I'm sure from all the posts here your "Spark Family" understands and we fully support you through all of this. Know you'll be in my prayers...

    Carpe Diem

    1103 days ago
    Caroline -

    First of all - you don't need to apologize for not being here - we're here for you whether it's once a week, once a month, or however often you find time to check in. Secondly, you are an amazing writer. I read and re-read your blogs, as you have a way of telling what is happening in your life that really connects with me.

    You have so much on your plate now. I hope in the middle of all of this, you are able find some time for yourself. Maybe exercise, maybe not; read a book; do something you enjoy; but at least try to find some time where you can decompress from everything that is happening.

    Blessings and prayers to you.


    1105 days ago
    Oh my - you have just so very much on your plate. Your life is so full of taking care of everyone else - when do you have time and energy to take care of yourself?

    You know at the beginning of a flight, the attendants instruct us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before equipping our kids? I know if disaster ever strikes, I'd put it on a kid first. And then I'd die. Meanwhile, I am sure my hub would follow instructions and save himself first so that he can save others around him. This saving ourselves first - it goes against my every motherly instinct, and even though I know I need to do a better job of taking care of myself, so I can then do a better job of being healthy and around long enough to take care of my family ... I don't. I use up most of my physical and emotional energy taking care of others, and by the end of the day I seek easy, temporary, false comfort in food.

    I see the same in you, but even more so - such devotion to those you love that you leave little for yourself. I hope you find a way to carve out some of that love and care, and focus it on yourself. You more than deserve it. You are worth saving first!

    And this: "There's a difference between being simple and being easy." Are there any words truer than these? It's simple. We know what to do. And yet it's still so *hard*!
    1106 days ago
    I'm glad you made the time to blog and share what is going on in your life, Carolyn.
    Your insight "Life would seem MUCH less overwhelming and scary if I could overcome my addictions and face life with just my unaltered self." is so wise, so true.
    Your father in law, your husband, your son and your sister are blessed to have your kind and loving support.
    It is heartbreaking to read how much is demanded from Japanese employees, it is good that at least this leave of absence is allowed to recover.
    Stay strong and take good care of yourself too!

    PS I hope your daughter Kana is well.
    1107 days ago
    As I read your blog post and see all the amazing long heartfelt comments in response, I am filled with awe. You have touched so many people here on Spark. What a gift you have given that so many are not trying to return. My thoughts are with you, my friend. I wish I could wave away the pain, stress, and worries.... but knew there are many here who care and are praying fit and thinking of you. Hugs..
    1109 days ago
    Sounds like you need to come back full time to Spark. I know having a member of the family with Kidney disease first hand. I had a sister who passed and now I have a daughter on dialysis three times a week for three hours. It's not easy for her or myself. I thank God that I joined Spark because it keeps me sane.
    1110 days ago
  • HEYRED221

    My goodness, you have so much on your plate. I completely understand the stress of having to take care of an elderly parent. I am so glad you find solace within our community and continuing to participate as you can. Your blogs are always so special, deep and honest. I thank you for sharing and being so honest with yourself and all of us. I am always here for you. You are loved emoticon

    Thank you.

    Carolyn emoticon
    1110 days ago
    Dearest Carolyn,
    now I understand why you have not been as visible here at Spark and I must say..........whew! I got tired just seeing how much of a responsibility you have taken on. Although I wouldn't expect to see you doing less because you are truly the most kind and compassionate person I have even known, you must take some time to slow down and take some valuable "ME" time for yourself.

    You need a vacation away from the stress and responsibility just as much as your son needs. But, there you are in your wonderful compassion taking care of everyone else and forgoing your own need to take care of you. You are indeed extremely unselfish and giving.

    I too question myself at times about the drinking of my wine. There is alcoholism in my family and I have always feared becoming dependent on it myself. I love the taste of my sparkling white wine or my Smirnoff Vodka cooler that is lemony flavored and I enjoy those couple glasses of wine while sitting out on the deck . During this summer I have indulged far too much in the wine (probably to drown my grief) which is not a good thing at all. I have now given it up for a while as I work to remove the muffin top I developed over the past few months.
    No, I am not an alcoholic but I always keep it in the back of my mind just how easily it could happen to me.

    Take good care of yourself dear friend. Your health is the most important thing we can have. I have full intentions of meeting up with you one day and we together will go out power walking (if your legs will allow you) and we can share the fact that we both have achieved a life style of living as healthy as possible.

    Big Hugs to you

    1110 days ago
    Wow! You are dealing with so much. Sit back and read your own blog as a friend and then see what your opinion is. Be that friend to yourself that you are to everyone else. Older family members are hard work at the best of times; distance and long working hours make it even tougher. Children always sap our strength too, no matter how old they get.
    I have to tell myself that my rewards for doing well are feeling and looking better - I don't really need the momentary good feel factor from food or drink or any other 'substances'. Sometimes it works, and that's progress too. Progress is just a small step toward success, not failure.
    You are dealing with so much. Good to read your blogs again!
    1110 days ago
    You are such a sweet soul. I have finally come to the conclusion that I am a sugar addict. If I get refined sugar in my system then all hell breaks loose and I binge. Figuring that out has been a big breakthrough and I have avoided it now successfully for 5 months. Alcohol tends to also make me just want to keep eating so I have avoided it also. Thankfully I can leave alcohol alone without any problem. Thank you for sharing and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1110 days ago
    You are so special, Carolyn. Your thoughtfulness and compassion for others is evident in all that you write. Keep writing. My thoughts are prayers are with you. No need to worry about replying to everyone all the time --- that caused me major stress when I was on here years ago. emoticon
    1111 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2017 9:27:35 PM
    I agree with NANASUEH that writing about compulsions absolutely belongs on here and is helpful to everyone. And watching how even in hard times there's a part of you that's not quitting, that doesn't cut ties with Spark - that's encouraging to us all because it's part of why we're all here, we share the understanding of this as a long-term process that we do our best to stick with through ups and downs, good times and bad. Sometimes we gain, sometimes we lose, sometimes we're just coasting but we're still at it.

    My first husband was an alcoholic so I have some idea how hard it is to control, but I've always felt like at least with alcohol one has the option of giving it up completely, where with food addiction we still have to get up and eat every day.
    1111 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2017 10:47:01 AM
    It is so good to hear from you!

    You do have much on your plate right now. I can totally understand your father in law, but I can also understand your sentiments about this situation. I would say "Bless your heart" and mean just that, but I'm learning that that's not what it really means... (Bless the South... hehe :)) If ever you do stop by GA please give a shout.

    We are so quick to give ourselves negative labels, aren't we? Positivity is my ongoing quest, which is quite a challenge at times. Maybe for each negative label we'll have to give ourselves two positive ones?

    Hope you can set your all or nothing aside every now and then.

    I've seen documentaries about Japanese corporate life and it seems brutal and not sustainable. Hoping your son can get the rest he needs to recharge. I can understand that having him at your house will make life busier, but hey, your son's coming home to visit!

    Sending hugs!
    1111 days ago
    I can honestly say that your writing is probably the best medicine you can ever take! I find that when things smother me, or alarm me, or scare me..if I sit down and blog it out I feel better. I hear you on a glass or two of wine to dull the emotions. I think I did a WHOLE lot of drinking after we lost our beautiful son. I just couldn't deal with the grief of it all and having no family to talk to about it was even more overwhelming. Of course I had DH but he was so destroyed he was really no comfort and probably more of a stressor because I felt so helpless myself and needed to try to comfort him as well.

    Our friends just didn't want to hear about a dead child. It scared them and reminded them that it could easily happen to them...so nothing there.

    But here's the deal as I see it. We all come into this world to learn our lessons or to teach our lessons. You do both Carolyn. Your heart is so open and so giving you are a teacher extraordinaire! I do believe in reincarnation and I think older souls take on the harder earth lessons because they signed up for the growth of those experiences. I'd say your beautiful daughter is probably a very old soul, she is teaching you some extremely important lessons while learning some hard things herself.

    I know it's completely against your nature but you MUST learn to treasure yourself. You have boundless courage and have done such hard, hard things. AND...still you perservere. A lot of humans would be screaming meamies by now but you keep soldiering forward. I'm just so proud of you!

    I know it's human nature to self-medicate to push down feelings we don't want to deal with but guess what...the universe will keep throwing those challenges at us until we accept them and deal with them. Actually they come around harder and harder each time we ignore them.

    I think the Japanese culture is one of the most stressful in the entire world! And...I'm sure you like me are a 'sensitive' and we absorb our husbands energy in a very unhealthy way. In fact I think 'sensitves' are sponges that absorb EVERYONE'S energy that we come in contact with.

    This can be VERY unhealthy...we need to learn how to protect ourselves being compassionate but not to the degree we destroy ourselves through the process.

    I'm praying for you Carolyn...I know you will figure this out. I'd say you need a massive crash course in self appreciation and self love. Take out a pad and pencil and write down EVERY good quality about yourself.

    When you get down on yourself get that pad out and read it out loud to yourself.

    Try yoga or mediatation to calm your spirit and nourish your soul. Shut out things that are beyond your control and stick up for Carolyn...the world won't stop turning...we are not that important...even though sometimes we think we might be.

    We can only control our own little corner of the world and that is nurturing ourselves so that we have the strength to take care of those who we want to. Look to your son...see his plight...don't let that happen to you. You are the nucelous of your family...without you..they would all suffer.

    Hugs, hugs and MORE hugs sweet friend! emoticon
    1111 days ago
    Life is never simple, is it? Keeping you and yours in my heart and prayers.
    1111 days ago
    Wow, you have a lot on your shoulders and juggling to keep all the balls in the air.
    It sounds like you are taking care of everyone else. Make sure to take time to care for yourself.
    Always enjoy your blogs.

    We are here for you, Carolyn.

    1112 days ago
    Thank you for sharing this blog.
    "n other words, I have underestimated my own strength. Life would seem MUCH less overwhelming and scary if I could overcome my addictions and face life with just my unaltered self."
    Maybe it's because I struggle with overeating and binge eating myself, but I don't get these sentences... maybe I don't get that whole paragraph.
    My experience is more or less the opposite, I think. Life just seems too overwhelming at times without food to escape. I think that without the 'substances' and having just my 'unaltered self' to handle life I would feel that it's impossible to deal with all the problems. Having been binge free for a longer period of time (though not recently alas) more or less showed me that the 'undrugged me' has a much harder time coping.
    1112 days ago
    Oh my goodness you have so much on your plate right now. I wish I could make things easier. I agree with others that boundaries are needed. Does your husband know what all this stress is doing to you and about the drinking? He is the one who should get together with his sisters and let his sweet father know this current plan is unsustainable. Is live in help financially possible? It's heartbreaking having to push things, but it is also heartbreaking doing yourself in trying to please and enable your sweet and probably scared-of-change FIL .

    This may sound random, but if you haven't gone for a physical in more than a year, please do. Caregiving stress can really take it's toll. Please also do some things just for you to replenish. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Your loved ones want you happy and healthy.

    Apologies for giving unsolicited advice. I usually don't like it so not sure why I feel the need to give it!
    1112 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/18/2017 7:12:22 PM
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    At present your life is on overload, I hope that sharing it with your Spark Friends was cathartic for you. You surely needed to share and we are always here.

    Take care of yourself and please don't try to numb yourself to your problems with alcohol. It is at best a very temporary and dangerous fix.

    emoticon and emoticon
    1112 days ago
    You're selling yourself short when you think you don't have much to offer. Just by speaking honestly of your compulsions gives the rest of us courage to face our compulsions. Weight gain is often a symptom of a larger undercurrent so to speak of those compulsions, those demons that whisper in our ears, definitely belongs here.

    I'm glad you're back with your blogging and am rooting for you every step of the way.


    1112 days ago
    Carolyn, anytime you write is a gift. I'm giving you a pass right here emoticon To not comment back!!! I'm sorry for all you have going on. It is hard with older parents and in laws. My husband did the same for his parents- he'd go over and take care of their house, lawn etc. I'm glad you took care of yourself and didn't go recently (might have read this in comments somewhere).

    The alcohol is tricky and I get it. I've gone through periods of not drinking and find I sleep better. There's an app called Nomo that you can use to track and get support.

    Please stick around. You are special and valued!!!
    1112 days ago
    I am a foodie... usually carbs... anytime of the day or night...especially during stressful times...
    Wish I had a magic wand to make all the wrong "wants," go away.
    I would wave my wand over me, then you etc..... I can dream can't I....???

    I love your blogs, you nail it, you are a writer of truths...... merci....
    1112 days ago
    Dear sweet Popper, I always feel excited when I see that you've posted news for us, your friends. I also struggle with not being able to stop sparking until I've meaningfully commented. But a long message now would add to your load, so for now please simply know you are in my thoughts and prayers often, and I support you in your many challenges and valiant efforts! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1112 days ago
    My sweet spark friend you have so much on your plate right now. i can feel for you. so glad to see you blog. have been thinking of you and wondered if i lost your feeds as this has happened many times for me.

    i think you FIL doesn't want to leave his home of so many years as he has many memories there. he lived there with his new bride and they raised a family there and i'm sure as others have said that he probably wants to pass away there. then also knowing the house will be demolished and no one will be able to enjoy the house he so treasured. this house will no longer exist.

    have been there with my FIL about 10 years ago. i was fortunate to live next door which made taking care of him until almost the end. my FIL didn't want to live in a nursing home and he didn't want to live with someone else as he was so used to doing what he wanted to do and didn't want anyone telling him what he needs to do also he didn't want to inconvenience anyone. many times i was able to convince him that he wasn't a problem. many times we had a talk where he told me he wanted his son and i to move into the house and live. the one problem for me is....we have been in this house for 6 years now and most of the furniture that hubby and i have is still in the old house next door and i have given away many items of what is my personal things. now hubby doesn't want to change things of his families and....

    maybe your FIL is hoping someone like you and your hubby could move into the house, but that will never happen.

    i'm addicted to food when things get tough and right now i'm eating way to much...so an addiction is so comforting to help us feel happy and then later on we realize it was something that will upset us that we did this. it's a constant battle.

    i hope the working conditions get better very soon and the leave for your son helps him. am dealing with something like this with my son, but wish he would take some time off from work.

    this morning i have been thinking of taking a break from spark because of everything i'm dealing with right now. your blog is giving me some food to think about as our spark friends are so supportive.

    you are not alone in your struggles and so many are struggling also.

    much love and emoticon my dear emoticon emoticon
    1112 days ago
    A very heartfelt message you have for all of us. I'm so sorry that your son is having a hard time. Having visited Japan so many years ago, I understand what you are saying about the grueling work ethic there.

    And it's really too bad that your FIL doesn't fulfill his contract and move into the nursing home. About 2 years after my father passed away I talked my mother into visiting a senior living facility only a few blocks from her home. It too was fairly new and was very lovely. She met a few old friends who were living there. They had a dining room if you wanted to purchase your meal, but each apartment had it's own kitchen too. The thing liked best was that they would knock on the door every morning to make sure each resident was fine. She was offered a 2 bedroom on the main floor overlooking the garden and bird feeders - perfect for her. I left for the weekend and she was suppose to go in, sign and pay her deposit. NOPE - I came home and she said she changed her mind. She was very healthy and only 82, but living alone with me so far away seemed like not a good idea.

    I am also sorry to hear about your twin sister, I hope you get a chance to come home for a visit.

    Take care of yourself.
    1112 days ago
    Hey, you! I'm always thinking about you, so I'm glad to get an update.

    Thanks for sharing these views into your life and into Japanese culture, the family and business values.

    I'm glad that things are changing there for businesspeople--I, too, am always a little surprised when my learners tell me their routines. I'm now relieved to know they get compensated for these grueling work schedules. I'm jealous of your son for getting to spend a few weeks with you and hope it rejuvenates him and renews his spirit. It sounds like he and I have had many of the same symptoms, though certainly my work schedule is NOT to blame!

    On Sunday night, I went to my husband's coworker's place for dinner. He's a trained chef, so it was very good food, and he bought my husband's favorite beer. We had a great evening, but I tell you what. On Monday, I felt like I was back to square one with my fatigue. The same thing happened on July 5 after another day of overeating and drinking. The brain fog is really worse than the heavy stomach or the bloating. I just made the connection, but I now know what you mean when you write about how much clearer your mind feels when you haven't been eating and drinking at night. I wish you success in stopping the drinking and evening eating, as I truly believe it will lead to even greater success in all kinds of ways sort of butterfly effectishly.

    Much love to you, as always, my friend.
    1112 days ago
  • no profile photo CHAYOR73
    Problems of life are always difficult, but, we need to have a lot of patience. hang in there!! emoticon
    1112 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    What a deep, thoughtful blog that evokes a lot of emotions. I can't really say much that hasn't already been said but know that you a appreciated. Keep on keeping on.
    1112 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15520036
    I'm so relieved you're back. You're a comfort to so many people, too.

    You have too much on your plate, dear Carolyn, and I agree with Maringal!

    Sending hugs from steamy Tokyo!

    1112 days ago
    Thanks for sharing. Wishing you strength to face your challenges. There are lots of people rooting for you!
    1112 days ago
    I hope your FIL's move is soon, for the health of all of you.

    I grew up with an alcoholic father. I have never wanted to find out if I would follow in his footsteps...for the sake of my 2 sons. I did not want to put them through the same hell. But seeing how I have a problem with food I think I probably would have been similar to him. It is so supportive to read blogs from people who have struggled and are struggling with the same issues. Thank you for your thoughts in print.
    1112 days ago
  • SEAGLASS1215
    It is very difficult for older folks to leave the home where they have spent many years and are so comfortable. I commend you for doing all you do for him...and at least there is an end in sight if his house is going to be demolished. He has many memories there - he does not want to leave before he absolutely has to. Is there any way you son could stay with him during his leave of absence?

    As for the alcohol issue...only you know for sure whether it is an issue or not. Personally I do not like alcohol very much, I don't like that feeling of losing control. I have to admit that one drink can be relaxing and take the edge off (like when I have to be around my mother-in-law) but if you need to "take the edge off" more often than not, perhaps you need to reconsider why this is so and if you cannot change the triggers, maybe you could change your response to them. I used to use (abuse) cigarettes to deal with life and when I gave up smoking, I turned to food to help me cope. Maybe it is an addictive personality trait? If so...maybe I can get addicted to exercise and broccoli - LOL!!
    1112 days ago
    My dear, you have lots on your plate. A FIL who needs to be in a nursing home, but stalls (and I can understand it, too, a little bit. If his house is slated to be demolished, I am sure, as you said, he is hoping he DOESN'T end up in the nursing home. Sort of convoluted thinking, but I get it dealing with my own 90 yr. old Dad and 88 yr. old Mom w/Alzheimer's) and you have to make the trip w/DH and do the work. It's exhausting.

    You have your DH AND DS who work long, grueling hrs. I pray that your son recuperates with his leave of absence.

    And then, like everyone else, you have your own personal issues to deal with as well. NOT easy.

    Wish there were magic words to turn it all around. Heck if I had 'em I'd use them for me, too!

    But glad you blogged. That's what helps me -- well, I journal, but same thing.

    Sending HUGS your way.
    1112 days ago
    Excellent, coherent writing. Your blogs are always thought-provoking. I am not an alcoholic, but mostly because I'd rather eat my calories than drink them - and, I don't like losing control.

    It does sound like your FIL wants to stay in his house until he passes. As some others have asked, are there some sort of home health assistants he could hire? Then, you could take turns checking on him at longer intervals. Or, maybe your son could bond with his grandfather?

    You are a strong woman, Carolyn, but you carry a lot of stress, too. Take care of yourself!
    1112 days ago
    I would set boundaries regarding caring for your FIL. Why should he move when family members are making it too easy for him to move??? Stop catering to his needs for a couple of days. He will want to move then.
    1112 days ago
    I enjoyed your blog, you write beautifully.
    1112 days ago
    Verna so eloquently said only you can decide if alcohol is an issue in your life or not. But you did mention it has helped you through rough times.... if you need alcohol period.... I think there is some there you should seriously consider....
    1112 days ago
  • BLUEJAY1969
    You are taking the steps you need to take to address your various issues. You can be proud of that accomplishment! It's very hard to admit your weaknesses. I am sure that one by one you can tackle them! Of course it will take some hard work but I feel like you have already started! Good luck sweet friend!
    1112 days ago
  • ZORO22
    ... I never had before. I have learned to have fun or be upset or sad without having to drink. It takes a while to learn new coping skills but it can be done!
    1112 days ago
  • ZORO22
    Food was my first addiction, especially sugar, then I moved on to drugs and alcohol. Alcohol ran my life for over 30 years until I realized if I didn't quit I would die. I'm now almost 4 years sober and although some days are tough, I have a clarity
    1112 days ago
    A very stirring blog once again. I am not an alcoholic but I know lots about that disease. As you likely know, I lost my daughter at age 26 to drug addiction and alcohol. I had placed her in a facility for drug addiction in California which didn't last long and transferred her to Provo Utah and one of there recommendations was that I attend an intense week of counselling to learn about the addiction etc. etc. I learned a lot, believe me and not only about the addict but about myself as well. Unfortunately she was unable to kick the addictions and she passed from having a grand mal seizure. I attended 12 Step Programs and our Al Anon Group was frequently invited to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings so we could tell the "other" side of the story of how alcoholism affected the non alcoholics and I learned to appreciate the "hell" alcoholics go through and how tough it is for them to kick alcohol to the curb. There is help out there for everyone, no matter what their situation is. We know a "younger" man who has kicked alcohol to the curb and I admire him so very much. He has moved from our province now but when I had the opportunity to speak with him I always told him how much I admired him. I hope it made him feel good and I know when I see him again I will tell him again how much I admire him. You said you have to quit drinking and you question whether or not you are an alcoholic. Only you can answer that and only you can seek the answers to your questions. If there are AA Meetings in Japan you could very likely attend an open meeting and possibly find some answers there. Just one more thing that I want to share. One of the counsellors in Provo said "If I could build a city and invite people to live there, the only ones who I would invite would be recovering alcoholics and addicts because underneath they are truly the loveliest people in the world." Hugs my friend as you journey through this phase of your life.
    1112 days ago
    I am so glad you blogged! I love the way you write.
    You have succinctly described the things that you are dealing with. I see a whole of of your pouring into others, and little about pouring into yourself. Then as I have in the past, I start feeling that I deserve to overeat, overdrink, etc, and fill myself and ended up wrecking my health. I don't know what to say, but finally I just said STOP to the insanity and began taking care of myself first. What I found was when I was grounded, I was able to take better care of others. And when I couldn't take care of them it was amazing that they found other resources.

    Is it possible to find a caretaker for your father in law to purchase groceries and clean his home. It seems an undue burden to go through what you have been going through. If you could convince him that you will still visit when he is in the home, but you will actually be able to spend time with him, and even take him on outings, perhaps he will be more amenable to the inevitable change. I do appreciate that it is hard to make changes.

    You have a beautiful caring soul, but need to take time for yourself. Please find a way.

    HUGS emoticon
    1113 days ago
    You certainly have a full plate. I'm always glad to see you posting but family should be the priority.
    1113 days ago
    I'm sure happy you found the time and energy to blog! I always relate to what you write about and even though I'm sad you struggle....there is some comfort to me that I'm not alone in this struggle. I completely get the all or nothing mentality. I also completely get the food/alcohol craziness. I've spent YEARS of my life thinking/worrying about/trying to control my compulsions (and dealing with the after effects of giving into them). I am sad that you have some tough issues you're dealing with right now and I appreciate your honesty and sharing. There truly are some wonderful sparkers on here (as you've mentioned) and you are most certainly one of the ones that keep me logging back in as well. emoticon
    1113 days ago
    You write so well, it is as if you are painting a picture. You are a very good DIL. I hope your FIL appreciates you. emoticon

    1113 days ago
    Enjoyed your blog
    1113 days ago
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