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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Critter Under the Bed (written because for some: “it is time to open your eyes and see”)

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My husband of 13 years was one of the local pharmacists plus owned 5 drug stores in our coastal town in Oaxaca.  He was highly respected and loved in our community. And he was labeled as the town widower with five adult children, who had married the American Teacher.  (That’s me.)  Pharmacist Gabriel was wealthy, yet extremely frugal.  He cut corners on everything except his own London style clothing and holiday family banquets.  The family had had the same Ama de Llave ( head servant ) for 20 years .

Critter Under the Bed Click to Tweet

She ran the house her way and usually with her blame game of verbal control.  Her expertise of Gabriel’s favourite recipes, taught to her by his late mom, gave her leverage to do as she pleased.  The adult children were very fearful of ever having to manage daily life, house cleaning and meals without her.  They could not fantom the many family celebration “ fiestas” without her.  Who would do all the cooking?  Even though she was a prized housekeeper, Pharmacist Gabriel never gave her a raise.  He assumed Vicky was where she was supposed to be, caring for whom she was supposed to care for. 

One of my husband’s passions was his love for Mexico’s culture and terrain.  We often took bus tours to different states in Mexico to see the ruins and cathedrals.  In addition, we looked forward to spending time in the local produce markets tasting  ‘fixed on the spot’ tamales, cheeses, sauces, hot soups, etc.  Of course, we only toured on economy class buses with economy tourist packets and native guides.

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These second class trips involved traveling with 30 folks I did not know, sightseeing through the bus’ dusty opened windows, patiently controlling between bathroom stops with my own supply of sanitary paper in my pocket, fitting elbow to elbow around family style restaurant tables, and posing in tightly grouped camera shots.   All that was easy for me.  Even having to sit crunched up beside strangers on bus, taxi, ferry-boat and train trolley seats never bothered me.  

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You see, my ex-husband did not sit beside me / he didn’t permit physical contact.  I found no challenge with Mexican village menus and praying to bless the unsanitary food settings where the bus driver unloaded us to grab a bite.

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 In route to the next big towns the bus driver would park on a shoulder of the highway where people had set up stands to cook and serve ‘fast food’ for travelers.   We would stand in line waiting for our food to be served out of hot towel covered buckets and from the makeshift sizzling hibachis.  Our ‘GO’ plates could be anything from pre torn squares of pinkish butcher paper to large banana leafs. Passing cargo trucks added exhaust fumes and muffler noise to the ambience.  Now that’s real getting down and being one of them!  Actually, I love it!  You know the ole saying: “When in Rome…..do as the Romans do”.

This trip was going to be my last adventure as the highly respected Pharmacist’s wife. I was privately preparing for a departure back to my own country. (Exciting but terrifying) I had been in this familiar, Mexican habitat some 21 years while raising my innocent son. He never deserved to be put through my codependence prisons we had endured.  He was gone now and learning the American way of life. That’s a culture shock for any new comer to The United States, I assure you.  And now it was my turn to go through that challenging period of adjustment as did my son.  

My thought life secretly pondered:  What was ahead? What to take with me , where to go, could I get a job, would I ever find a true love, could I stay clean and sober, could I drive on a freeway, survive snow, build credit, make friends? This was all so scary. 

I had been in a recovered alcoholic over 2 years now.  One day, just for today, I did not drink no matter what.   And being in substance abuse recovery via the 12 step manual, internet sponsors, & 12 Step Study audios, I had learned one thing for over 2 years.  And that lesson is to “trust and rely on God”.

My heart had run out of hope for my marriage and the painful loneliness was beginning to kill me. My private doctor and physiatrist agreed that I had one chance to live and not die. And that last resort was to leave. I had been doing the same thing over and over some 13 years and expecting a different result. No matter how hard I perfected and care gave and gave up me, I could not make my husband, Gabriel, love me. I was making him and me unhappy. His coldness, flippant indifference and public unfaithfulness were subconsciously suffocating my desire to live.   

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My mind and body had shut down 2 months prior on New Year’s Day 2006. I had flown to Chicago to witness my wonderful son’s boot camp graduation. 

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Oh how beautiful that day and weekend was. … (I’ll tell that miracle tale on another day). 

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But briefly I had waited my turn at the taxi pick-up point outside the Chicago O’Hare Airport two hours from midnight to 2:00 a.m.  I was heavily exposed to a snow blizzard. I was used to 110 degrees hot weather south of the border.  My lungs got much too cold waiting for that taxi outside 2 hours.  So, three days later when I returned home to Oaxaca I had developed a bad constant cough. 

It was almost Christmas and my spouse wanted us to take the overnight tour bus to Mexico City to see the famous Almeda Park Christmas lights. 

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Adam, my son, used to go with us each year. Just a Christmas tradition, but I had to pay my own way and my son’s expenses everywhere we went and ate.  That held true for about 90% of our expenses at home, too.   

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I was asked to pay for my own laundry soap, cleaning agents for ours and Adam’s room.  I was responsible for my share of the telephone and electric bill as well.  These were senseless ‘roommate type’ living expenses that most husbands absorb, (especially wealthy ones).  The 74 year old pharmacist had money, but only for his family (whatever that meant).  

Remember me mentioning the controlling personality of the house cook?  She was the one who made sure Adam and I knew that the family fruit, milk supply and soda pops were just for that….the family provisions and not ours!  In my point of view, every-time I shopped for these household supplies, it was a stinging reminder that my own husband did not care for me! It was not about money. To me it was all about unkept marriage vows.

After getting home home from Chicago,my personal physician, told me it was dangerous for me to travel until my lungs were better, but my husband insisted we go to Mexico City.  So my doctor gave me an injection to get me thru the holiday trip.  Back then, Mexico City had very visible pollution.  And Mexico 

City has mile high altitude…not good for congested lungs.

Upon return we soon had a house full of 4 step daughters and 5 grandkids visiting grandpa’s house for Christmas and New Year’s. 

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I slept in my son, Adam’s room to not keep ‘My Love’ awake by my nonstop coughing. Dec. 31 about 10 a.m. my Gabriel called me over to our bedroom and stated very firmly with stand-up tall, self-dignity: “Gueda, (white one) I have told you two other times that I married you to take care of me and not for me to take care of you. Your coughing is keeping one of the babies awake. You need to leave now.  Go where you need to go. If you need to return to your country, I will help you. But you need to leave.”

He adjusted his tie and walked out of our bedroom to go to his office.  I turned around and entered the bathroom, looked up to my God of my understanding (which is Love, Love, Love) and said: “Well, Sir, I have been asking You over three years to do your will in my marriage and this hideous triangle of lovers my husband has. I take this as my answer from You. Thank- you, Sir.”

I had no fear. I packed a tiny bag, Bible and 12 step readings. 

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The doctor had the car that day so I took a cab to an internet web café to email my on line alcohol recovery sponsor, who lived in California.  After that I called the dad of one of my former university students, as his dad was also in recovery.  I asked him to suggest a safe and clean hostel or pension. He hurried to where I was in total shock of what had been done to me!  He found a clean pension and drove me there.  I was just fine and prayed, read and slept well. But the next morning my body had shut down from a truly whipped and broken heart. I could not talk so I very slowly texted Josephine, a girlfriend.  Josephine rushed over and got me to the emergency room of the clinic that my doctor owned. My doctor was away for the holiday season. 

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The staff workers rolled me into the emergency room and popped a pill under my tongue.  I only remember Josephine screaming to Jesus and digging in her purse for anointing oil. 

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Then 4 days later I awoke at Josephine’s home and she insisted it was time for me to talk to my husband. I finally yielded under her sweet nagging.  I called him and agreed to return home per his request. He wanted to discuss something with me.  And he wanted me to come back home. 

The day I went back home I called Mary, a dear friend I had taught English with at the university.  Actually I had had to leave my director position at the university in order to have free time to attend 12 step meetings in the mornings. That’s the way I did not relapse.  Meetings were and are my reminder of the illness I have and where I came from, not to return by picking up one little sip. 

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I still owned my little school that I ran at night. Mary and I were going to drive around town and wait in the car, while my secretary posted signs about a new course I was opening.

That cough; that cough. I needed to buy some cough drops and there was a new convenience store caddy corner to my husband’s office over his main drug store.  So I pulled in the parking lot of the handy little store to buy the cough drops real fast.  As I was reaching for my coin purse, I glanced in the rear view mirror. Oh my goodness! I grabbed my chest and tried to catch my breathe!  I then pointed to them so Mary would turn and look.  One of my husband’s girlfriends and he entered a cab beside his office building.  He had just called that he was having coffee with Attorney So and So and would be home a little late for dinner.

I whispered to Mary: “ I need a drink.” She firmly returned: “No.  No drink.  Breath deeply.  Collect yourself.”

I dropped my face on the steering wheel and asked God “why?”   This was happening on my first day home and my husband had asked me to return.  He couldn’t have the consideration to pretend faithfulness just one day!

I heard the answer in my inner self. I think that was the first time I had literally known that Still Small Voice. 

“Because it is time for you to open your eyes and see”

Long story made short, Mary, my secretary and I drove to every coffee shop in town and called Lawyer So and So.  The lawyer had not talked to my husband in three months and the coffee shop he later said he went to was now out of business!

So I secretly began to make all arrangements to disappear. First, I needed to leave in good graces with all Mexican government departments.  Secondly I wanted to bless my girlfriends with my worldly possessions.  I couldn’t take my material accumulations of 21 years with me.  So, I had a blast giving them away!  Most of my friends were on very modest budgets, so they were excited about the gifts I bestowed on them saying I was down sizing.  And I commenced to settle all immigration and Hacienda (Mexican IRS) matters before leaving the country.

My physician and psychiatrist told me to prepare my departure without telling anyone or I would shut down again from the heart breaking experience of “goodbyes”.  I was silently bidding “goodbye” to my community, profession, coworkers, blended family, town, new adopted culture and foods of 21 years.  It would be too hard for my emotions and mind to handle.  I was told that my codependence addiction toward my cold shouldered husband was so extreme, that I could go into withdrawal. My instruction was just get to America and get immediate help for codependency. These two professionals informed me that in medical school they had learned that 10 out of 100 emotionally abused women pass away within 24 hours after walking out of the relationship.  The doctor gave me 10 pills from Germany to calm me until I got to a Co-da ( codependency anonymous ) meeting for support.  They were a non mind altering medication prescribed to start taking the day before I left. 

Preparations were in motion to escape quietly to the airport one early morning soon.. But one last detail had to be completed on this tropical rain forest vacation trip before I left.  I would make my last attempt to see if my spouse could ever love me. I hadn’t totally given up.  Yet, I was finally at peace. I really knew the answer and only needed to cross my “T” and dot my “I “confirming I had done my part before fleeing.

This Chiapas journey was so beautiful, as it was extremely close to nature in the raw sense of the word. We’re talking about some nights without even an outhouse, much less electric lights, fan, TV, carpeting.  I learned to whirl a rag in a propeller motion while waving it up and down my body length to keep insects away, to bathe with half a pail of well water behind nature’s shower curtain of late night darkness, 

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to be a quick change artist in broad daylight while sitting on my bus seat (without anyone getting a peek), to tear a piece of cardboard box off at the market to be a most valued hand fan, to use an old t-shirt for a bath towel and lay it across my seat back to get dry in transit. All these lack of modern conveniences have never fazed me as hardships. I enjoy the art of being in nature’s flow full of gratitude and adventure.  I practice focusing on expectation for what God has around the bend.

Actually one of the most exciting memorable praise times I have ever had was on this last trip when we spent a day where there were several shallow clear natural pools. They looked very “you Tarzan, me Jane”. 

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It was quite a hot day so dipping in the clear water was tantalizing. Each pool was a different color.  They ranged from turquoise to powdery blue to a purple hue. In order to enter the water one had to carefully step over and maneuver around thick intertwining tree roots. The pools were not beside each other so a mini hike was in store between swims. I was alone and having a peaceful blast quietly planning my preparations for my return to my motherland. My husband always stayed near the tourist guide’s 17 year old helper.  We had been on several tours with this guide and his young assistant to different Mexican states.

Actually Gabriel was always kinder and more considerate to that teen tour guide than he ever was to Adam, my son – his own step son.

I had raised my boy to the best of my ability. To tell the truth, Adam had survived his childhood but by the grace of God. We had really been thru the emotional wringer. I had made our bed and poor Adam had had to sleep in it. He finally had a father and that father’s name was Uncle Sam!  I was now able to go back to my homeland without the worry of providing for my son.  I didn’t have to worry about my son should I not get a good job or find a decent place to live. His address was at sea with room and board!  

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I had never had family for us to go back to in the United States.

As I daydreamed about starting my new life at last, I sang my own made up songs to the Lord.  After the water time our guide gathered us to a picnic sight to have beans and hand patted tortillas. There was also a paper thin slice of sun dried meat. (What animal the jerky was from, I have no clue, but it was unbelievably tough!) 

After eating, my husband started off for a climb in the jungle mountain. He had a game he would laugh about as he periodically enjoyed telling the tale. The story was in memory of his late wife. He would make her walk from one end of downtown Mexico City to the other while he marched in rapid pace glancing in shop display windows. He was an athlete and walked at a very fast speed with great ease. He would laugh about how his late wife would be limping and exhausted after the almost 2 mile hike on asphalt and cement. I had also been victim to his game twice on our Oaxaca town seawall. Both times I needed injections in an ankle and ended up having to drag one leg for months.  It was just not healthy to try to keep up with him. Too fast!!!

He was up to it again. ..This time the game was for me to keep up with his climb up the jungle mountain as he followed the teenage guide. 

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But I grabbed a strong long, dry pole from the ground and let my husband hurry off thinking I would race behind frantically.  I was in my own spiritual world of praise and worship, singing to my Lord at the top of my lungs. 

I didn’t see the danger of all the twig and leaf covered trail steps leading up and up. I didn’t think anything about snakes or critters in the vines and under fallen foliage.  I was just finally having the freedom to worship and sing without having people around. There was no church, Bible time or prayer before meals at the house. So this very private alleluia session in a tropical forest was wonderful! I never hesitated to grab onto vines and pull myself up and step on the unknown footings.  And then, I realized I was on top of a high jungle mountain!  I had arrived! 

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I was overlooking magnificent waterfalls. I sang even louder and happier. I know the feeling of an eagle now. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.  Yeh! Oh Father God, how beautiful!!!

I had to return pretty fast because it began to rain hard and the path down could get muddy and slippery.  Long fall….

What a nice day. I guess it got me filled with the conscious contact with God that I was going to need for that very evening.

Our guide had given us a pep talk that he saved the best for the last two days! Yippee! We were spending the night at a luxury beach resort area for the middle class National Mexicans.  The vacation spot was called Puerto Risco. Needless to say we arrived both bushed from swim and  hike;  all famished for a real meal.

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As the bus entered the city an unpleasant stench appeared at each street corner. There were high piles of stinky, fly covered garbage thrown at the end of each block on the media. Whoa! What an invite!  It was some festival and carnival time.  The booth lights were set up in little parks. The few restaurants in the resort town were full of customers eating, and our tummies were empty. So we piled out of the tour bus to walk the main street spreading out to fin for ourselves in quest for dinner.  We were to reunite at the town square for our hotel arrangements in one hour.

The guide confessed we would be scattered all over as no one hotel had had enough room for the whole bus load. 

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Some ladies were even staying in private homes with families. One basement room had three  twin beds in a circle with  a toilet in the middle of the room and a curtain was improvised around the toilet. The only mini window looked out to the sidewalk as sandals and flip flops walked by.  Poor ladies!

The beloved pharmacist and wife (us) were to get the best accommodations (or so we were told).

It was almost impossible to communicate with my husband. His past time at home was sitting in front of the TV upstairs in the family room. He watched Hitler movies about three hours a day never getting bored of them. His library had shelves and shelves of books based on this hero of his. I had discovered two times that it was effective to call his secretary and just make an appointment as a client if I had an issue I needed to discuss with him. I had done that upon two different occasions when I had been particularly upset about one of his public displays of infidelity. 

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Tonight was going to be one of those rare times we could communicate, or so I planned.  We walked on the beach and sat under a palapa (palm leaf shelter) while awaiting our room. As we sat and viewed the foamy tide I took in a deep breath and bravely asked:

“I am confused about some things.  Why is it you have never even turned your head to look at any of my photos when I want to share my life with you through them?

When I tell you memories of when I worked at NASA or was an airline hostess / model / had my jewelry supply business / was an Indian jewelry trader on the road in my motorhome, you never even pretend to listen, much less make a comment.

You have never told me you are proud of me for the books I have written or the language institutes I have launched.  I don’t understand. Please tell me why.  Today I want to know why.”

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Now inside my love starved imagination I suddenly saw my husband gallop in on a white horse, hop off the stallion and run up to me, kneel and kiss my hand as he declared how blind he had been and now he suddenly had fallen deeply in love with the beautiful accomplished women that I am!!!  I almost crossed my fingers waiting for his love and kindness to evolve.

His answer was quick and cutting to the core! It took my breathe away. It slapped sense into me at last.

“Oh Guerda (white one), even your son says you are crazy” at which he got up to swipe off the sand and he walked away not even waiting for me much less helping me up from the ground.

That is just what I had taken this trip to discover.  And I remembered what the Still Small Voice had told me:

“It is time to open your eyes and see”

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Remember the story about the frogs in the big tamale pot (or crab pot or canning pot / what did your area call it?) 

Well, the frogs settled in close together and made the best of it as the water got hotter and hotter. Maybe they were thinking: “It’s O.K.  It’s all good.  I can do this. Things will get better soon”.

And the water began to boil and they never even tried to escape and they killed themselves.  Did I tell you that the pot was very shallow and they could have jumped over the rim at any time, should they have chosen to live? They all died.

My hidden flight itinerary was dated for March 10, 2006. In two more weeks, I was going to leap over the rim of the boiling pot, passing goal and not going to, but getting out of my own jail. My husband, Gabriel, had just dropped the last straw on this camel’s back!  I held back the tears and put on a peaceful face, as always. My eyes were opened.  I finally could see.  He had just given me permission to carry on with my escape plan.

But first for a good’s night sleep….tomorrow would unfold tomorrow.

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The guide was at the nicer hotel in town waiting for us to return from eating. The lobby was under the hotel rooms in an opened area patio that was tropically furnished. On the front desk counter was a little bell to wake the clerk if he was asleep on the nearby hammock. Oh yes, and a broom was propped up against the wall. Plus there was a spray can of insecticide at one end of the counter. (That should have been my clue.)

The guide had brought our luggage from the bus and he explained this was the nicest room left in the city and he would see us at the plaza at noon. Off he scurried with his young male assistant. They were probably going to sleep in the bus.

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I rolled my flight bag on wheels into our room. Double bed, marble floor, one wooden stick chair, mini closet without a door on the left of the room and 2 steps that entered a sterile bathroom with only the necessities.  There was not even a shower curtain or toilet seat. I checked and the bathroom window was well locked. As was my custom, I emptied and lined up my toiletries, went to the closet and got my Bible and 12 step manual out of the luggage along with my flashlight, towel, flip-flops, and night wear to go take a shower. Gabriel was just sitting in the chair. There really wasn’t room to do anything else.

The Voice, the Voice; It said: “Go over to your side of the bed and look under the bed.”

Now, Mexican hotels are very practical about bases for beds. To save on wear & tear and because cement is so much more affordable than wood, most teachers’ desks in public schools and hotel bed frames or just poured cement. One never had to clean under the bed and it was great on the spine. So beds were merely a mattress over a concrete rectangle.

I knew that and I knew God knew it. So, I thought ‘nah’ it must have been my imagination. I went to brush my teeth. 

The Still Small Voice repeated ever so kindly: “Go over to your side of the bed and look under the bed.” 

Oh! O.K. Maybe someone left a gold watch or 100 pesos there. Yeah right. I better get the flashlight and  a coat hanger to reach with. I mean there is no “under the bed” so best not get too close.

As you recall the broom against the wall in a hotel lobby and insecticide ready to grab and aim, were clues I didn’t pick up on. About every two months, my spouse’s grandkids, Sonny and Adriana,  would come screaming ““Night-Night”, “Night-Night”, un raton!” 

They named me “Night-Night” because I said that before we departed to go to sleep at night. And raton means a mouse. So when they spotted a mouse the hunt was on. Vicky, the maid, and I would run for the brooms on the back steps and head for the last scene of the crime. How the kids would shrill and jump up and down as the mouse would escape from one piece of furniture to the next and laugh at Vicky and me do our routine until mouse died ~ we won.

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Where was Gabriel all this time the mouse hunts were on?  Hiding in the bedroom. He hates critters.

So, that is why the hotel night clerk had the broom ready for action. They had critters!

With close toed shoes on (not flip flops); with the flashlight in one hand; and a wire coat hanger in the other; I cautiously leaned over to see my side of the bed which was 12 inches from the wall and window.

Nothing visible. Using the coat hanger I elevated the long white sheet that draped over the side of the bed almost to the floor. “WOW!” 

Wow, Wow, Wow.

Big, Big…….sooooo Big!!!

As I was moving swiftly to the bathroom to collect my beauty aids and then to the closet to rapidly stuff my towel, books and other possessions in my luggage and zip up, I was singing praise songs with eyes as big as a deer looking at a spot light! That’s what I do in the middle of any crisis once my vocal cords can function. I sing to the Lord…glory, glory, glory, glory…

Gabriel asked where I was going. I said back to Oaxaca; that I had had enough. He said that there were not any buses or trains or an airport. I said I would walk; I had had it.

I handed him the flashlight and demanded he go see, but to be very careful.

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He tip-toed over very slowly, bent over a bit, peeked using his fingers at the corner of the cover sheet.

He looked about a whole minute (like he was frozen) and said: “It’s a scorpion”

He left the room and I stood in the hall with my baggage in my arms and my eyes focused on the pathway from me to it! How can I explain this for you to really get it? Oh yes. A banana. That’s it, a banana. Think of a dark, over ripe yet firm banana standing on one end and curving up other end. The tip of the curved up end pointed up in the air was in a striking position! 

Critter 27 giant scorpion

BIG scorpion!!!

Gabriel and the night clerk arrived with spray can and that broom. They entered. I walked down to the exit area. 5 minutes later they returned to the hall and closed the door behind them. We were all walking to another building. No one talking except then the man informed us this is a brand new wing to the hotel and everything was new. I tip toed around to check it out. There were high cedar closets that did not go all the way to the ceiling. The bed didn’t have a headboard installed yet, so there was a three to four inch space between bed and wall. I went over everything singing under my breath. “Glory, glory, glory, glory”.  Then I told them to get a ladder and look on top of the cedar closets. Gabriel had never been so obliging before. He told the man to go get the ladder.

I must have shined the flashlight between the wall and bed and over the closets and around the room ten times thru out the night. I have to admit I was not totally trusting and relying on God. 

Why didn’t I meditate on the fact that God did not tell me to look under my side of the bed so I could be moved to another room just to be stung by a ‘Critter’. Duh, Cindy ! “Have some faith!  Know who your God is!”

The next morning I was able to get Gabriel’s attention long enough to learn the whole amazing story.

They had killed the banana sized scorpion I had seen. But they decided to check the rest of the bed to spray it.

Here goes.

The cement bed base was hollow to save money on construction costs. The base had cracked open with a 2 inch gap and the sheet was hiding the hole. The nest, better yet, scorpion colony was in that bed base. Gabriel said there must have been 20 of them! He and the night attendant just hurried out and shut the door behind them.

I wouldn’t be here today if I had not listened to the voice of my Shepard. Sing to Him when I get scared or angry or confused? You bet I sing to Him! Yes! Even in public He is worthy of my praise.

Behold, I give unto you power to thread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Like 10:19

I invite you to enjoy my addiction recovery tales ( Oh yes!  This tale was the addiction of codependency ) Check out my Lizard Tales.  They are fun, insightful readings.  And guess who the lizard is?  Me!  Www.StopFryingYourBrain.com. Just type: Lizard Stories in the search box on the right midway down or got to the category and select right menu bar. Here’s what to look for (see or click below)

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Tale Reveals War Room Strategies for Drug Attack

Do you remember the saying: ‘He saw the writing on the wall?”  

Last week I was listening to a pastor on TV, while doing some house cleaning. The pastor explained that the saying comes from the incident of King Belshazzar’s banquet, when he was serving drink to his guests in Holy goblets.  Those goblets were not to be used.  He disrespected the Godly laws and a human hand wrote on a wall during the dinner event.  The King was not terrified by what the words were that were written.  He was terrified that a hand had been assigned by unknown powers to write on the wall!  

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The true story you are about to read has never been told to anyone except my husband.  I once told a pastor, but he could not hear me.   Perhaps as you read, you will have the eyes to see the war strategies that I witnessed drawn upon the wall!

I was dating a businessman from a 3rd world country.  I worked reservations for the airlines as I had been grounded due to ear problems.  Well, this passenger romanced me and I thought he had a charming debonair about him.  Since, he wanted to be sure I could adjust to the Mexican style of living, I would fly to the little airport next to his city on my days off.  It was so quaint, that the baggage claim area was 2 wooden saw horses with some planks laid across them! This was all intriguing to me.  I was attracted by the nuance of it all.  I remember one time we got to his hometown when a Regatta Festival was on as it was a coastal port.  So there weren’t any hotel rooms available; but he did find us a ‘bedroom’.  

To me it was so strange!  The ‘motel’ rooms were attached to each other in rows.  Each room had a covered garage in front of the bedroom door.  And as a car would park inside a garage, someone quickly closed a big curtain from behind.  The giant curtain was like a veil between good and evil.  I know that now. Well those businesses were called motels.  But they were no motel 6 or motel 8. They were places that were rented by the hour. And the curtains were to cover one’s car from detectives or jealous wives to see.  Room service would be delivered on a rotating dummy.  The attendant would just rotate the food and drink to the client, so no one ever saw who was in the room. There were no top sheets or bedspreads. I was freezing all night because the bedding wasn’t meant to spend the night on! The beds were meant to do your business and get out.

But you see, all that didn’t faze me, because I was on a mission.  My target was to make this man fall in love with me.  I was willing to go to any length.   I was, I was.  This was an adventure.  I had already had two husbands that I had been married to; and I had had many more spouses that weren’t mine.   I would go from man to man on the quest to make them love me; because somebody, somewhere, someday was going to love me unconditionally; or so I dreamed.   So I regularly lived through these types of adventures and there were many.

It never dawned on me to ask my latest romance; “If this is your hometown, why I can’t we stay at your house?  Why can’t I meet your family?’   Well obviously, due to my denial, I refused to see that he was already married.  I did become his wife and he did have several other wives at the same time.

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After we were married and our son was about 2 years old, we had gone to Marti Gras in Veracruz, Veracruz.  On the way back we stopped for the night at a neat hotel in my favorite fishing village!   I loved eating the river snails there.  The fishermen sold them by the dozen from their little boats.  Each snail was extracted from its shell, but still attached to the shell door.  They had been ‘cooked’ in natural lemon juice.  One needed to place the snail in one’s mouth and bite down tearing away the tortoise colored shell door.  This was how to detach the meat from the door.   

Oh how I always loved that sleepy village! It is a Boca del Rio, which means mouth of the river that goes into the ocean.  And there’s a little island that tourist take a gondola to; just like being in Venice, Italy!  The gondola tours go to Monkey Island.  And it is named that for a reason. Thousands of monkeys are swinging from the trees.

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 Actually one of the famous entrees, at the big terrace restaurant next to the Riverwalk, is Monkey steak!  Cheap for the cook to buy, novelty for tourist, umm-umm good!  The boats stop maybe two yards from the island and the monkeys run and jump on the hull.  They wait there with their hands out to be fed. And, of course, we offered peanuts and popcorn and all that healthy American food.

Along the river bank, there is a boardwalk.  Halfway down the river walk it is made of sun-bleached wooden planks and the rest of the pathway is a cement paved road.  It runs along the wide gray river beach.  The River bank had many lined up vertical posts with poles laid across the top of them.  They looked like where people did pull ups. This is where the fisherman placed their empty fishing nets to dry after the day’s catch.  The fishermen come in laughing and reminded me of the 12 disciples. They were in such good spirits, folding their nets properly and storing boats upside down.

Looking down the river you couldn’t see the mouth of the ocean.  It was like looking down the Amazon because of the jungle affect.  Little did I know what I would witness on walls only 2 kilometers down that jungle covered riverbank!  And to this day I ask myself: Why me?  

Two kilometers down the state highway was a waterfall.  There were about 126 steps to climb down to the landing sight.  As tourists reach halfway down the stairs, the sound of the roaring waterfalls can be heard. And then there begins to be a heavy mist from the forceful water.  At the bottom there is a large cement slab with cola and local beer brand cart tables. Tourists can order fresh caught fish and native vendors smoke it on site in dug out pits covered with layers of palm and avocado leafs. This is food for kings and queens.  The fish meal is eaten with one’s fingers off of a banana leaf.  It’s exquisite! Supposedly they did a movie called ‘The Jewel’ around that water fall and jungle.

So back to my favorite fishing town; in the middle of the town is the plaza. All Mexican towns have to have a plaza. That’s where the cathedral is. That’s where market vendors would be set up for special festival shopping days.  That’s where locals go on the weekend nights when it’s hot, just to sit on the benches and hope for a cool breeze. At one time the town plaza was where the chaperon would walk the plaza, arm in arm with a beautiful maiden. And the men who wanted to court a young girl to find a wife would sit on a bench. The stowing maiden would throw a rose to the one she passed who was of interest to her. That was at the plaza. (Something like non virtual mate matching.)

This particular plaza is very famous to this day for gambling lottery tickets.   That is why there are lots of stands that don’t sell ice cream and hotdogs, because they sell lottery tickets.  At night, rows and rows of lottery ticket sheets are hung in little vendor stands on wheels. And a little hanging light bulb, generated by a car battery permits the gambler to read and pick out the lucky number they have faith in. After people purchase their favorite lottery number, they hurry into the cathedral at that plaza to pay for it to get blessed. So that town’s cathedral is famous for getting lottery tickets blessed. Now let me tell you something, my ex-husband, who was hubby #3, won the national lottery three times in the eight years we were married. He knew the winning formula!

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Hubby #3 had his personal lottery ticket vendor in our city, who saved his favorite numbers for him.  So, he did not come to purchase the tickets.  He only drove there to have the tickets touched and blessed by two higher powers in whom he had faith. One of these powers, in whom he believed in was the local Father of the church.  

And then he would also go see someone known to make magical things occur. We would go on a sandy road, to the outskirts of the village, where there was an announcement painted on a brick mural wall.

                Lion with paw on Bible

‘El Leon, offering his powers’.  But little did I know the highly organized War Staff Division that El Leon headed and the war plans that were hanging in his house on his walls.  1 Peter 5:8 (ESV): “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Let me tell you a little about that sandy road.  My husband’s inheritance of a coffee plantation was on the top of one of two mountains that protected the region from natural disasters like hurricanes, title waves, tornados, and even flooding due to the rain forest in certain parts. These two mountains were gorgeous and pacifying to look at on the coastline from afar, as there were always cloud rings around their tips. Each time I drove on the seawall, of our city (over 2 hours away) my heart would sing songs from Roger and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.   These two mountains from resembled Shangri-La in that movie. At the foot of the mountains there were natural mineral springs from which sparkling water like French Perrier birthed. This water was transported from there to bottling companies.

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Half way between those water springs and the town plaza was the El Leon hut with two types of fences in front of it.  One fence was tightly lined up stalks of tall dry sugar cane and the other half of the fence was a brick wall that had been covered with plaster.  The wall had been built to serve as advertisement.  Those walls are used as billboards throughout the country of Mexico.

This wall had a lion painted on it and an announcement offering special powers for romance, luck and revenge.

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Usually when my husband came to this town to have his lottery tickets receive the rituals of luck waved across them, he would stop at this hut and I would wait in the car.  But this time was different for some reason.  I now realize why he changed his norm and we went directly to the Lion’s private home instead of his witch doctor waiting lobby.

I believe what happened there that afternoon was intended for me to see.  I believe all of this is part of my destiny and missions.  I was to become an alcoholic and receive my miraculous sobriety.  It was intended for me to become a seasoned addiction recovery coach. And I am to write this very Lizard tale of truth for the believers of America to read and ask God what to do about it.

As we climbed the outside stairs up to a very large house on stilts, my husband explained that the man we were about to visit, was the number one leader of the witches in North America.  (Remember that North America includes Canada, The United States and Mexico).  I knew there were annual witch conventions in that town.  We, as Mexican locals, knew better than to try to visit the village as tourist on those days.  All hotels were full and the festivals were not for outsiders. During that week each year my husband’s lottery tickets did not get blessed.  His tickets were his Higher Power depended on for provision and protection.

Once, I was backed up to a cement wall in the bedroom.  Hubby #3 was in rage because he thought I had touched his lottery tickets.  I had been warned never to even touch his pant pocket.  He believed if I ever touched the tickets he would lose winning power.  He must have lost the lottery that day and had been promised he would win.  He had fiery red eyes of rage.  As he was pulling back his arm with tight fist, I silently prayed to God that I had a child to raise and to please protect me.

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I watched his forceful slug not only miss my face, but his arm was twisted and his knuckles banged into the wall!   Reader, I saw that happen and was not even amazed.  I had been living in the ‘what next mode’ a long time.  The miracles had become natural to me.  He ran out screaming “Witch! Witch!” (Bruja, Bruja).  I saw him 3 days later when he came home from another wife’s house with arm in sling.

As we climbed up the stairs to the front door of El Leon, my spouse looked me in the eyes and ordered: “Do not Talk.” I had already been a product of his ‘spells of madness’.  I knew I must not talk. He knew that I was filled with the Holy Spirit and that I had no fear.  He knew I had authority over the powers of the enemy.  Maybe it was just a game to him.  I have no idea why he placed me in this situation. “Just be courteous.” He said.

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They were very happy to meet me. I say they because there was a lady with the witch doctor.   She could have been a house keeper or his wife. He wanted to show off his house to me. So we went from living room to meeting room to regular dining room to giant dining room to an L-shaped terrace. Every space had ample places for people to sit at tables and eat. And the large meeting room and the formal dining room were conference room size. His walls were like parquet floor and they were handmade.  They were cedar and they were local wood, hand cut and pieced together.  He was extremely proud of it.

He never even mentioned what immediately caught my eye in every room!  In every room there was the same piece of art.  It was 3’ x 4’ in size and was drawn on black felt. I don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember or have seen in someone’s house a painting from Mexico that’s black felt drawn on with bright colored pastel chalks? It was like that. The first time I saw it, he and my husband were talking to each other in Spanish.  I just stood there aghast. I was totally stunned. I have never forgotten those paintings. Now that I have been through what I needed to go through in order to comprehend the full force behind them, I cry at times when I recall them. Even though each was identical, each was an original piece of art.  They had been carefully duplicated and I so wonder just how many of them there are in our country, too.

Plus, I believe the way our country is now, if non-believers and many believers saw them, they would not have eyes to see or to hear the message.  Our American malls, on line shopping, head shops and beach tourists’ shops have made our senses numb to the evil messages and dark powers being flaunted around us.  Wait!  We can add TV to that list and tie a knot to attach the video games and dressed up dolls given to our baby girls for Christmas.  (so many evil messages and powers being over looked)

Let me describe that same exact cursing image on each wall.   In the middle of each painting was the picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His face was so sad with alligator tears flowing from His eyes. He had the throne crown on His head.   He was looking up to our Father God in remorse.  All around His face there were these floating images. They were around His face, so that’s why it was 3’ x 4’.  It took a lot of canvas to put those images floating around His face.

And as I write to you, I realized why I designed the book cover of Crying Hearts of the Loved Ones the way I did. Those floating images around Jesus’ face are exactly as I subconsciously designed around a drowning girl’s face on my book cover.  I never realized that until now.  

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Around Our Lord there were syringes.  There were capsules of medicine.  There were medicine bottles.  There were thin razor blades. Those items were floating around the remorseful face of our Lord. There were liquor bottles, too.   And every room I went to I would stand and look at it. And it was identical to the other ones, but they were all handmade. They were all originally made, they weren’t stamped out. I kept my mouth shut.  

All the top leaders in witchcraft from Canada, The United States and Mexico annually united at that house.  We are referring to a syndicate.  Understand they are a very well organized body of evil. That’s why he needed many meeting rooms, many meeting chairs, and many dining tables.   They had great feast there once a year on that Witch Day. And they had many festivals in that town on that day, too. And in every room where there would be gatherings and dining that mural is what they would look at. It was like organized crime. But they were looking at their goal of what they were praying toward, what they were working toward, the destruction with those weapons.

The target is to make our Lord cry because of all the losses caused by the floating weapons around His face. They held organized rituals throughout the entire continent with common goal.  It did not matter that they did not all speak the same language.  They were and are united to attack and destroy the people of all ages that belong to God. Babies are born addicted, children get lost and are missing. Millennium is out there making the rehab industry extremely busy doing the best they can to save our nation; because the millennium is our future. And now the elderly are being fed addictive medication. Is it possible to become an addict or an alcoholic when you’re an elderly person ( and not only an elderly person, but an elderly believer)? You bet it is. You bet it is. I am your living example!

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That’s the crisis on the wall.  That’s the handwriting on the wall.  That’s the mural I wanted to tell you about

I am putting this true story in your hands.  I am very relieved to have passed this on.  I can now know I no longer conceal this secret from the Body of Christ

The ones who are appointed to hear this message, will.  The ones who are appointed to act on this message, will.  Halt.  Be silent. Listen for the Still Small Voice, to know if you are one of the appointed and what your part is in this war.

This is not about a witch hunt.  This is not about burning down a witch’s hut.  King Belshazzar was not terrified by what the words were that were written.  It is not the mural image that we are to be concerned about.  King Belshazzar was terrified that a hand had been assigned by unknown powers to write on the wall!

 

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 Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” KJV

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I was appointed.  I have seen.  I have heard.  I have grown in order to comprehend.  I have acted and continue to do so.  Thank you, Stop Frying Your Brain.com!  Thank you, for not being timid to let me share.

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Holiday Survival at Toxic Family & Office Festivities

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If you are serious about making it through the holidays still clean and sober, then you are probably feeling a bit reluctant about being with family and so-workers at holiday get-togethers!  “To Thine own Self Be True”.
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If you are forced (emotionally blackmailed) into going to a family celebration where there will be drinking and using:

  • Take your sponsor or a sponcee of your sponsor.
  • Many people in recovery do not have a place to go for the holidays.  Invite them.  Go together and turn it into a recovery fun time!
  • Know prior to the party where the 24 hour alkathons ***are or where regular recovery meetings are.  Regular meetings to not close for the holiday.  This way you have a safety zone to run to if your nerves, moods and anger buttons get triggered.  Family can be a very toxic trigger (and worse if all of them are together).  Protect yourself with a game plan of refuge if needed.
  • NEVER put your drink down.  Guard it!
  • Pour your own refreshment.  Play it safe.  One practical joke can end in jail, institutions or death.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in a safe parking place so you can escape fast.  Be sure your car can’t get boxed in.
  • “No” is a complete sentence.  Practice it in the mirror.
  • Have sober numbers to call (get someone to program your cell with speed dial if you do not know how to do it.)  When a craving comes you will not be remembering the good phone numbers.)
  • Be careful of punches and eggnogs!  They are usually spiked.
  • Be careful with deserts made with alcohol, too.
  • If non cooked deserts have vanilla extract in them, say ‘No thank-you”. (Most flavor extracts have high alcohol content.)
  • Find out what time the meal is to be served prior to party day. And go just before the meal and leave just after the meal.  Our families really know our triggers and do push buttons.
  • Know: It’s just one day.  Get to a meeting that night and share your success of the day!  Yeh! You!
  • If you have a cell phone microchip, portable mp3 player, or CDs with recovery leads or the Big Book in audio or podcast, listen to them.
  • Remember to use the Serenity Prayer.
  • Say ‘Help” that morning and “thank-you” that night.

*** Alkathons are meetings around the clock plus refreshment and snack breaks.  They are help in AA and NA home groups during the holidays. Great support and stress release and sobriety insurance.
We do not get clean and sober alone and we cannot stay clean and sober alone. The mentality of (“I’ve got this.  What do they know?  I am different.  I can just use my will power.) is a relapse waiting to happen.  You have a support team and recovery tool box.  Use them). With the use of the tools and your support team, You DO have this!

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Katrina Lizard Slays Generational Dragon

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I just got back from my parole officer appointment.  And I am gratefully amazed, because I realize that I had ‘ah ha’ moment.  I never would have believed that having to go to a parole officer could change my whole way of thinking!  Being assigned to my parole officer posted a detour sign in front of me that points to a different direction than I had my mental pathway focused on.

My parole said that I am a sparkling living billboard that needs to be presented in front of children in grade school and middle school so they can see that we all can be overcomers and conquers. We all have the ability to choose a bright life and to walk away from the dim and dark life.  God has the same love and high value for me as a person who was borne on the right side of the track to a high income family or borne in Buckingham Palace.

It wasn’t anger from God toward me that made my father decide not to father. It wasn’t anger from God toward me that made my mother addicted to drugs so she had to live on the streets selling herself in order to keep her needs fulfilled.  God didn’t do that.  That wasn’t His choice.

Now the parole officer says that I need to become a part of an organization that he is going to introduced me to.  I will get to go to schools and youth groups and let them know how I made it.  I get to tell them that if secretly in their heart they are being abused by their parents (verbally, emotionally, even physically and sexually), that it is going to be O.K.  They can make the right choices.  Foster homes can be wonderful and they can be un-wonderful, too.  But it is going to be O.K.  And I get to go tell them.

I am also very excited now to get to be in Cindy’s Lizard gang.  I am very pleased to tell you my story of how it was, what happened and how it is today.  My brother was about two years older than I am.  We did our best to survive as we scratched, scraped and schemed.  We used a lot of ingenuity and it was rough. But we did exist when it came to finding food and shelter.

 

Mom was not there.  She couldn’t be there.  And I am no longer furious.  She’s my mom.  The dragon got her.  The dragon didn’t get my brother.  The dragon got me.  And I suppose my father decided not to father because the dragon had him.  I don’t know.

As a child early in life, my brother and I would wake up starving and sometimes cold.  We were in dirty, wrinkled clothes.  Quarters to wash clothes at the laundry-mat were way too luxurious for us.  But we needed to be clean because we wanted to go to school.  We needed to learn all we could, so we could get out of the rat trap and the flop houses we lived in at the time.  We took care of each other (my brother and I did).  We found food anywhere we could.

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I remember that I would walk to school.  One of the most terrifying moments for me was when a pick-up truck stopped in front of me.  A man rolled down his window and put a pistol to my face.  He said:  I am going to kill you.” And he pulled the trigger. I was so stunned that I couldn’t move.  I closed my eyes and heard the trigger, but nothing happened.  I peeked and looked at him.  He looked like a ball of anger and hate and rage.   And he said very slowly: “Next time it will be loaded.  Tell your mother to pay me”.  Then he left.  Every day going to school I found a different route and I would go on a bike as fast as I could feeling terrified.  It was like survival in a war zone.  That is not good for a child. That is called trauma.  That is called abuse.

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One day there was a knock on the door.  When I opened it there were 3 kids and they had a bucket with a label on it.  It read: Donation for church camp.  They were going from door to door.  A lady was waiting for them at the sidewalk curb.  Well, I have to tell you that a light bulb went off in my head.  I had arrived.   I had found a way for my brother and me to have an income.  I got a bucket and washed it out.  Then I put a label on it that read:  Donation for the orphanage. I would go from door to door collecting quarters and dollars.  We able to eat and have clean water to drink.  We also had a few quarters to wash our clothes.

And then I found myself stealing snacks and candy bars from convenience stores and selling them at school.  My business mind was growing.  My ingenuity was soon to get me in trouble.  First I was a ‘gofer’ picking up drugs here and taking drugs there. I was a delivery man.  After that I was a dealer.  After that I became a junkie, myself.  Soon I went to reform school.  After getting out of juvenile school, I began going from jail to jail.

 

But before I started my jail circuit, something happened that most people in the United States know about.  It happened in my hometown in the hood in New Orleans.  This something that happened was called Katrina.  She blew in and blew away my neighborhood, our home and blew away the life of my brother.

I could not understand how God had done so much to me and had so much against me.  I was filled with anger, remorse and despair.  Did I mention total loneliness and abandonment?  As I stumbled around day by day and fix by fix, I went to jail.  It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.  Because after Katrina, I had become extremely possessed by the dragon.

It was the same dragon that had destroyed the relationship of my mother and her two sons.  It was the same dragon that had captured away from me my own father.  That dragon lost this time.  Because due to me being put in jail, I got clean.

I am out now.  I am in a sober living house in a neighborhood that has many sober living houses.  Our 12 Step clubhouse is nearby.  I have found a new way of life.  I am working those 12 Steps with a strong sponsor.  I go to drug court classes.  I see my probation officer regularly.  I know now that I never did anything wrong. I know that the world, the universe and the creator of the universe were never against me.  It was just the dragon that destroys families from generation to generation until somebody takes the first step to stop the cycle.  I took that step.  Each day for 24 hours a day, I slay that dragon.

I actually believe, as it says in our 12 Step program, that ‘God was doing for me what I could not do for myself’ by letting me have the privilege of going to jail.  I have a great parole officer who has pointed out to me that I can tell my story in a creative way as part of the Cindy’s Lizard Gang.  I can also tell my story in an entertaining way as my parole officer arranges for me to go to boy’s clubs and schools to speak.  This is so other hurting children, whose family has been attacked by the dragon, can know the truth that they are not bad.  They are just victims and there is a solution to find a new way of life.

 

If the above description is you, I suggest to get through school. I suggest to keep to yourself.   I suggest get to church if you can. Get your high school education.  Find a counselor at school and ask for help for higher education if you want it.  If you are already dabbling with the dragon and it is too late, because he has got you; get to a 12 Step program and ask for help.  There are good people.  Find a rehab and knock on their door.  Ask them what you need to do.

But if the dragon does not have you, yet (if you still can say “no”), you already know the answer.

Thank you to my higher power and the judge and the policemen and the jail workers and the parole officer.  It has been a procession of being carried from one institute to another institute to another program to where I am today.  Thank you, Creator, who I call God, that You had a plan.  And it was painful.

I heard Cindy Lizard say:  the painful part of our past is no more than life lesson 101. Now we have the certificate.  It is our choice what to do with it.” I decided to slay my dragon!

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Pirate Warns Don’t Swim with Sharks

While Lizard Brian was going through boot camp for the United States Marines, he had to focus on: following the rules, keeping out of trouble, learning all he could to survive during warfare, and doing the best he could. He made it! He served our country.

When he got out, he thought boot camp was the hardest thing he had endured and would ever have to endure. Little did he know that boot camp for the U.S. Marines was not the most difficult challenge that he would need to accomplish in order to be a man in his mind, heart and spirit.

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After the military Brian began the tasks of trying to reach a point where he could stay clean and sober. In total there were about 10 years and mixtures of detoxing services, inpatient and outpatient options, and top quality treatment facilities that he tried. He sparkled within each new program and method that he was going through toward the goal to become clean and sober. He knows now that he did great while he was within the discipline and accountability structure. But it was after getting out of each regimented atmosphere that ignited the real battle.

He even ended up in an exciting, luxurious, sunshiny Florida State treatment center. And he is very grateful that he was in such a dynamic celebrity spa like substance abuse facility. And he did do great while he was there. It was a wonderful easy detox experience with highly professional therapy and group classes. But when he got home, it was the same ole same ole. He did not have the drive within himself and the discipline within himself alone to fortify the will power to stay clean and sober. He relapsed.

 

Brian says that after his last relapse he got the gift of desperation catalyzed by the most painful experience he had ever had. He ran into the house to shoot up in the bathroom. He was going to need this fix and he knew it. The police were on his heal! He would figure out his usual A, B, and C back up plans in a minute. But for now he needed to embed the liquid kryptonite into his foot as fast as possible before the law enforcement team confiscated it. Yikes! Ouch! Flushed fear ran through his veins as his mom was banging on the bathroom door announcing that she was done and the police were in the house looking for him.

The second after he removed the needle from his foot, Brian’s ankle was pounding as if it were going to explode. He opened the door and rendered himself over to the law officers.

Today he knows (because he knows, that he knows) that God was doing for him what he could not do for himself. He had been stopped before life itself stopped him. He did go to jail and progressively suffered in his leg for a few weeks. He kept telling the regional jail staff that something was wrong with his foot and he needed to go to the hospital. As a direct result to his drug using he lost his leg in jail.

Ironically he learned the hard way that he did not need pain medications and mind altering drugs in order to cope with the sharp stabs in life. As he was in jail the amputation recuperation did not include these prescriptions. And he made it. He learned that he could survive life on life’s terms without numbing physically or mentally.

 

After detoxing free for several months in jail he was permitted to be released under the care of a jump starting faith based sober living organization. The recovery program they provided was keeping very busy all day with physical labor as the in house residences were remodeling their own donated building. The curricular was King James Big, Big Book studies at night.

The drug and alcohol cravings were suffocating Brian. He knew if he left the faith based house, he could go back to jail and he knew if he stayed he would most definitely use. The run down building was in the heart of the downtown hood with dealers on every corner. He believes that God had blessed him with a true desire to finally stay clean and sober. Part of the gift was having had to face his own repercussions for the laws he had broken and the gift of his mom’s decision to inform him that she was done. That pain and rejection had provided him an ‘ah ha moment’ to start a new way of life. He was ready to go to any length to stay clean and sober. And that, My Dear Reader, is the exact miraculous potion needed for someone to decide to change any character defects of the past.

After a few months Brian could white knuckle abstinence from drugs and alcohol no more. At 7:00 in the morning he got on his crutches and walked 2 miles to the west side of town where there is a growing community of sober living houses near the town’s 12 Step meeting clubhouse. This area is laced with old Victorian houses and could be considered the wrong side of town as far as drug activities are concerned. I guess that can be referred to as a full circle. The area where junkies and crack houses are is quickly being repurposed into a ‘sober town’.

He walked there on his crutches and got there about 7:30 a.m. The men in that sober house had just finished having their devotional readings and were out on the front porch having snuff, cigs and java. They saw Brian hopping toward them. They knew him. Their city is tight in the recovery world.   They know each other.

They ran to him as the prodigal son’s father ran to his son. They ran to grab his heavy backpack and hugged him. They welcomed him, patting him on the back and said: “Come on in. We will make you a bed. Welcome home. And we are going to love you until you learn to love yourself.” Brian was very confused by those words. Those words were scary to a macho manly ex-Marine. But he was willing to try anything to stay clean and sober. Life had gotten way too heavy.

That has been a year ago. Brian is clean and sober and a part of the recovery community. He helps be a shiny living example in the clubhouse of his city.   And his mom, who loves running, has him focusing toward running a 5K for his group of 7+ sober living houses. He has his prosthesis and the run is in March.

Brian has depicted himself in this Lizard Tale as a pirate. This pirate did find the hidden treasure chest. Brian wants his Lizard Tale to announce to the world that the true treasure in life and the true merit badge in life for manhood is not in boot camp completion. It is not in rehab, detox and treatment center certifications. It is in working the 12 Steps. Brian says it is the hardest thing he has ever done in his life and the treasure chest is at the end. He knows himself now as the man that he loves, respects and honors. He is passing his experience, strength and hope to others who are lacking that same self-love, honor and respect for themselves. For those who have not been able to stay clean and sober after completing residential treatment centers, he wants them to strongly consider sober living houses.   They offer a strong structured life of accountability and people who understand and care. Sober living housing forces their renters to go to meetings. Meeting makers do make it.

This particular sober house is Christian based, as well. So he has found the loving higher power of his own understanding to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He trusts and relies on the miracle that God gave him the 12 Steps. Don’t listen to the parrot on your shoulder. You no longer have to lose a limb, a love, a profession, a dream, your life. God gave Brian a sober living house with 12 Steps and the higher power of his understanding. That is the contents of Brian’s pirate hunted treasure chest.

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Reveals the Word Valuable

As I partied with my dad I felt cool.  This must have been a great thing.  After all, my dad let me drink at the age of nine.  At the age of 11, I found I had to drink more to feel like I fit in with the family habitat.  Without drinking I did not belong.  At the age of 12, life was anguish.
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I found I hated getting sick and hugging the john all night.  And, of course, I suffered daily hangovers.  I wanted to stop.  I even used all my will power to not pick up.  But I just could stop the cycle of drink, drunk, sick, drink, drunk, sick.  I hated sitting at home most of the time alone and angry.  It was so degrading to know that my parents could have helped me, yet,  didn’t bother to do so.  At the age of 13, I landed in an all girl’s group home feeling abandoned and scared.  Even though I couldn’t drink for 4 years, I craved to do so badly.

On my 17th birthday I was released to go home.  I was set free! But I was not free.  Soon there after, I was brought to my knees in captivity worshiping King Alcohol.

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Since then I have been married four times and divorced three times.  I have searched for all the answers.  I just didn’t know what the questions were.  But by the Grace of God, at the age of 52, I can say that all the remorse in my childhood has been turned into good.  And I now realize in my mind, heart and spirit, that I am a good person.  I never was a bad person.  I had been an afflicted and enslaved person.

I have found my answers.  It took jail, drug court, jail, rehab, an out patient aftercare program,and a vitally needed sober living house, plus my beloved 12 Step program for me to be able to clear my mind about 4 truths:

One – drinking wasn’t my friend
Two – I absolutely don’t need anyone but God to validate my existence
Three – I have an invaluable Lizard Tale that will help those of all
ages who are hurting and searching for hope and answers about sobriety
Four – Now I know my own worth.  I know I am valuable!

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Reveals Alcoholism Is a Double Whammy

We had been married a short period of time.  He drove from our mountain cottage up to his family in New Hampshire and to monthly men’s group in New York State often.  I was overwhelmed with setting up house and scrubbing the place sparkle clean: from window frames and screens to the light bulbs.  The place had been neglected way too long.  The extremely long day that we had loaded the rental trailer and driven one car behind the other from Pennsylvania to West Virginia was traumatic.  I knew not where I was going.  I am not good behind the wheel after 2 hours!  I was very much in love and ready to begin a new life.  I did have to make innumerable pit stops, slap my face to stay awake and sing praise and gratitude the whole 11 hour travel to my Canaan land.

When we turned into the mountain holler it was terrifying.  My normal habitat had been flat, hot, sandy, and the tallest trees were palms.  There were 90 degree turns and drop off cliffs, too many trailer homes and barns falling apart, and rusty cars in most yards.  This was like a movie to me. It was like a mystery or crime movie. I was seeing lots of poverty or else laziness.  I am not sure which even now.

I got the place looking very country decor and even the porch was a dream! But there was a mini room that I never went into.  First of all, the door was blocked from the inside by stacks of cardboard boxes.  One day I did suck in my tummy and squeeze through the small opening of the door into the room. The boxes were stuffed with papers in no apparent order.  Many receipts were inside various grocery store bags each tied with a loose knot.

 

When Fred returned I asked him about it and he brushed it off.  A week or so later I had asked a few times and he said they were his tax papers and he needed to file his taxes.  He was behind on that.  For 2 years I saw that he was unable to have any motivation to dive into those papers, put them in order and get the tax filing done.  By that time we were married and I was fighting fear face on!  I had walked away from an abusive marriage, come back to my country with nothing, suffered culture shock and the technical learning curve of survival in America.  I had had to adapt to ‘how to courses’  from Microsoft Windows to smart phones to internet and working in a call center. Now I was married to a most loving, kind, Christian man who also knew and lived the 12 Steps.

And what on earth was going to happen to us if he never paid the IRS?  On my time off when he was working I went thru those papers and got them in order.  The living room floor had plastic shoe boxes and file folders labeled and being filled on a regular basis.  When all was ready for him to do his part, he still did not move a finger. Now, I was new in the mental health field.  I did not know what I know now.

God is so wonderful about every minute detail of helping us stay alive as we each progress, not perfect. We never perfect.  Fred had not been able to touch those papers.  They had hotel receipts, gas receipts and proof of the cancer battle his 42 year old daughter had lost.  He had literally moved from Out West to West Virginia to be able to live in a place not too deep in snow in the winter and only a day’s drive to his family up north.  He drove up monthly to help his daughter go through the chemo treatments for 3 weeks and then returned back to the mountains for a week to keep the place in tact the best he could.

 

I was losing my sanity in fear of the IRS issue.  I talked to my boss, a clinical director in mental health, about what Fred had explained. She so understood and said the human mind was that way in order to protect itself.  You know he did get all those tax filings done. And at the end of the process,one IRS rep asked Fred to tell him honestly why he had waited so long to file his taxes.  Fred explained how his first born had wanted to hold on and not die until Easter Day. She never once complained about her cancer condition. And at 2:00 a.m. on Easter Day, her dad (Fred), her lovely mom and wonderful brother were present before her dying in the hospice.  Fred asked his daughter if she could see a light.  She said: “Yes, Daddy”.  Fred said: “Go to the light.  It’s O.K.”   And then her Mommy began to sweetly coach her to go, go, go to the light.

Wow, my Dear Reader, before she left this earth she slowly expressed in gentle whispering joy: “Oh, I am a lamb of God! “.

Fred was asked to write a letter that he had delayed doing his taxes due to inability to cope with the paper work as it reminded him of his daughter’s death due to cancer.

If the IRS, my boss and our Higher Power understood the deal about Fred needing to heal first and then carry on, I needed to accept that, too. We did not have to pay late fees and we had money refunded on our taxes.  Praise God!

I would like to say that I am the perfect Addiction Recovery Coach and so I walked and talked pure Serenity Prayer and I did not take my beautiful husband’s inventory  I would like to say that I did not lose it and scream at him before all that ‘procrastination on taxes’ was resolved.  That is far from the truth.  I remember one morning being beside myself and leaving in a ‘hizzy’ only knowing I needed help!

I stopped in the parking lot of my mountain mental health branch office because there was cell signal there.

Lizard Reveals Alcoholism a Double Whammy
I called a most helpful and concerned lady from the local Alanon organization.  She talked to me 2 hours!  She made me laugh at the things her husband had put her through.  And she said something I advocate often to people in relationship or marriage with an alcoholic.  I advocate this to service providers and even van drivers working with all types of clients of mental health issues.  This strong suggestion also includes those taking care of the elderly who are or are not in of their right mind.

We care givers cannot help but get too close and need to step back a bit. We need a periodical breathe of fresh air.  Octopus Alcoholism wraps around everyone nearby.  I once read that each alcoholic affects 40 people.   These 40 folks include the loved ones, their landlords and workers around the alcoholic and workers around the family and children of the alcoholic, neighbors and their offspring, the alcoholic family’s pastor and his family, people in retail and food service who attend to the alcoholic on a regular basis and even the dog. Alcoholics have good days and bad days at first and then slowly or rapidly turn into unreliable, sometimes hateful and eventually cold individuals.  It is not that the person is bad.  It is that the person is ill.  And the person is owned by and enslaved to the substance. Now I am referring to active alcoholics.

 

When we talk about inactive alcoholics, the same can be true.  I am one.  We, with the daily decision to ‘not pick up or use today no matter what’, do have our own fears-doubts-insecurities that we deal with. That is what recovery and living the 12 steps is all about. We face life on life’s terms but do it striving to keep serene trusting and relying on God. I had lost my trust in God about the taxes and instead of asking God to deal with Fred and relying on God to do just that, I decided to act on my own manipulating, pushing, emotional blackmailing way to get it done. When that did not happen I went nuts.

So, after my 2 hours on the cell phone with that amazingly helpful lady, I went home, apologized and asked Fred to get me to an Alanon meeting because I was married to an alcoholic. I informed him that he too needed to get to Alanon meetings because he was married to an alcoholic. But I asked him to let me go to this meeting alone just this time, please.  I am talking about alcoholism affecting the drinker and non-drinker in the family alike!  Wait until you read what occurred that evening at that meeting!

We had arrived early and Fred was going to an AA meeting down the road.  We had driven in to the city from our mountain mining town.  So we were killing two birds with one stone. He dropped me off.  I knew the church building not and was not even sure if I was at the correct entrance. The door was locked. I waited and was busy asking God to forgive my selfishness.  I had not supported my spouse in this matter but lost it in the “what if” mode.  You know the deal: what if we lose the house?  What if we have to go live in the city mission?  What if I lose my job for being a federal criminal? (And on and on those poisonous ‘what-if’ thoughts that can overtake a person.) Dust had set in and vision was hazy.  I saw a large man in black walking toward the church and he was swinging something.  I could not depict the type of clothing.  It was just big and black. And there was something bright red on the man’s face.
When the man arrived to the church entrance he was singing joyfully and swinging an umbrella.  He was all smiles and carried a bed pillow and garbage bag.

Lizard Reveals Alcoholism a Double Whammy

On his nose was a red ball clown nose!  And his big black clothing was literally a black garbage bag.  He knocked a certain signal on the door and someone came and opened it.  But the little doorman was annoyed because we were 3 minutes early.  Another man was busy setting up coffee and the cups and all.  And, yet another man was laying out books and brochures.  These guys knew each other well.  And yet only one was friendly with everyone. So, the black plastic bag man, the chair person and I behaved politely. The others were having a hard time putting up with everyone. It didn’t matter to me.  I knew that 12 Step meetings worked and I was not spiritually fit and they had the keys I needed.

The black plastic bag man was a clergyman!  He wrote poems.  He played musical instruments.  He knew all the Alanon readings by heart.  He spoke the Bible verses, too.  There was strife about who was going to read first and I just sat to learn.  The chairperson seemed used to the lot and got everything running smoothly.  After the readings, the discussion began.  When I shared what I had been going nuts over, they knew exactly how to tell their personal stories that would pull me back into the ‘Let Go Let God’ mode. It was indeed a wonderful thing that I had gone.  You see,in 12 Step recovery groups, we are not to make evaluation criteria about the others in any addiction (oh yes, living with an alcoholic creates it’s own type of addiction of over trying to help and control the alcoholics and make everything O.K.) So, in every addiction recovery program, we are to identify and never compare. I had been sober long enough to know that. Inside each man there was a treasure of wisdom and experience to tap into.  No one there had been in Alanon less than 10 years.

 

The black bag man pulled out a bed pillow from his possession bag and sat on it.  He then re-opened his plastic tote bag and pulled out a doll to stand on the portion of the table in front of him. The doll was a dog that looked like Dick Tracy wearing a yellow trench coat and carrying an umbrella.  The clergyman in the black plastic bag was a dynamic, powerful orator on spirituality and the 12 Steps and wisdom of that paradigm shift that lets the mind operate on one truth. That truth is that everything that is happening to one is not occurring ‘to’ them but ‘for’ them.  About every 5-7 minutes throughout the meeting this amazing man would lower his face to look into the eyes of the doll and weep and beg: “Sweetheart, I told you that you need to put the bottle down.  Honey, please just stop drinking and put the bottle down”.  Then he would switch back to his position of helping me learn to cope with my IRS marital issue. I felt like the only person missing from the round table was Jack Nicholson.  Lots of personality acting out was going on.

One man was controlling and correcting and orchestrating our every move.  You see, this is no different than a dog barking or a kitty meowing.  Those who have to keep alcoholics in order and under cover from public eye, become very controlling and demanding so they can believe that they have everything going right. But here is the beauty! I am just as odd to them as they are odd to me.  And in a 12 Step meeting, we have no preferences.  We are family and we are there to share our experience, strength and hope.  We are there to love the new comer until he or she can love themselves and forgive themselves.  The lovely man in the black bag hugged me with great affection after the meeting.

 

He was so delighted to meet another lover of the Word of God.  We do not shun another in recovery if their higher power is not the same as ours.  However we do enjoy a member who loves our same Higher Power. As he hugged me I was asking God to help me be kind despite the discussing garbage smell that was whirling around me.  Fred and I laughed about my aroma all the way home with car windows down.

2 weeks later my loving black bag man came in late to an AA meeting across the river.  He had walked across the high bridge at night.  He placed his bed pillow on his chair, sat and was one of us.  He picked up his 14 year chip that night.  He put his dollar in the 7th Tradition basket, as well as anyone else.  He prefers to live where he prefers to live.  He does not drink one day at a time.

He is an ordained member of clergy.  His story in detail I know not. I know he and his wife drank. I know she could not stop.  I know he is proof that alcoholism is a double whammy. It affects the drinker and the loved ones.  So, I keep up on my Alanon and Codependency readings and attend when the ‘what ifs’ begin to fog my mind.

I never want to forget that wonderful man who daily decides ‘not to pick up or drink today no matter what’ and who still aches and tears for his deceased bride who could not stop.

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Broken Hearted Lizard Needs a DrinK!

Which came first?  Did I attract to my drug of choice because I was Codependent and needed numbing to face life? I can now see that I was Codependent first and substance addicted after. If I had not gotten help for my repeated self sabotaging choice of partners, would I have relapsed back into drug and alcohol? Absolutely! I Was Dual Addicted.  I am now a Double Winner!

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The early TV era was all about “happily ever after”. No TV star had an unhappy ending. Their lives were sun-shiny without fears, doubts and insecurities. I cherished my 30 minute escape each day while watching TV. There were no negative words or disapproving frowns darting at me. While alone watching TV, no one was rejecting my hugs, smiles and giggles. Life was ‘breathable’ until Mom came home from work and commenced drilling into my 7 year old mind that I was the reason her life had been ruined.
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Our TV cabinet was the size of a mini hotel refrigerator with a tiny screen the size of a mini Ipad. One program had Broderick Crawford as the Highway Patrolman. He looked like Mr. Clean in a trench coat with a lollipop stick dangling out one side of his mouth. I secretly imagined that he was my long lost dad. He was my strong, solution solving father. Mom had told everyone that she was a widow. None-the-less, I spent many years waiting for my dad to miraculously show up to take care of us.  He did show up 2 times. He did not remove the ‘illegitimate’ stamp from my birth certificate. He did not take care of us. He couldn’t. The ISM owned him. He was an active alcoholic and of no use to himself or us.

In the 1950’s women were under paid but over worked. Mom had no support from her own family because she had had a baby out of wedlock. So life was hard for us. She came home from work tired and needed to cook. We ate in a rush to hurry off to one of her several part time jobs. These low paid jobs ranged from cooking at the church to cleaning offices, from babysitting to hand washing barroom cocktail glasses. I do not remember her smiling, laughing, relaxing, praying. Due to her exhausted work mode, I always thought she was angry. Now I know she was just imprisoned with bills, aching feet, the shame of wearing rags, being cold in the winter and hot in the summer, waiting for buses, and carrying grocery bags or laundry baskets like a mule.
I did all I could to be a good girl and not cause more grief. I hated it when she started in that I was the cause of all her problems. I just deduced that some people were born to focus on bringing joy and ease to the rest of the world. I decided in my child size mind that I was one of those chosen to sacrifice.
That is why I felt a very special bond with the lady star on a favorite show called Love Boat. Gail Storm was a social director on a cruise ship who dedicated her time to making people happy and fixing people’s problems on board an ocean liner. She was a doll and sang great! “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries”,”He’s My Man” , “Summer Time” were a few of her codependent songs that I listened to in my early teens and learned word for word. The poor neighbors would hear me singing my sad heart out at the top of my lungs.

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I had made up my mind to work on a cruise ship, too. But as I looked into it in high school, I discovered that I needed to get a maritime card. Back then one needed to be recommended for a maritime card and I didn’t know anyone who could do that. Resourcefully, I did the next best thing and became an airline hostess. I had a strong conviction to serve people and watch them enjoy being served. I knew I had been dealt the wrong deck of LIFE cards and was not created to receive joy. I believed that I had been designed to cater to others to make them happy. But no matter how hard I struggled to make my own mom content, I never did.
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But, wow did I study and cultivate the art of pleasing men! I was their meal ticket, their free open bar, business developer, playboy fantasy, maid, gourmet cook, business event hostess, nocturnal sports mate, and any other demanded role. I even progressed to the rear and became not only a doormat but battered wife, and the wife of one man who had a small harem! I was terrorized and so emotionally abused that my body shut down twice due to just plan ole broken heartedness. It is a state that occurs in extreme Codependency.
There was an American psychologists living in the 3rd world country where my last two marriages were. She told me I was programmed to give and never receive. She pointed out my care giving professions and the marital behaviors I considered normal and acceptable. My view toward selfish spouses was just like with my cold hearted mom. “If I tried hard enough and became perfect enough, someday day I would be accepted as worthy and actually receive validation and love!” Duh! I do not have to even be in that war game to begin with!
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When the student is ready the teacher appears. Into my 2nd year of sobriety I flew to America for a couple days in order to do my 5th step in English. I went to an AA meeting there, and was given a book about letting go and letting God. Two days later back in Mexico, I began to read that book over and over. It was about something called Codependency. For my first 2 years of sobriety I had needed to continue living in a toxic house of cold negativity. I was trying to be appreciated and finally loved. That book explained a lot and I had a spiritual awakening of a new way of thinking!

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Terrified, I did what the book taught. I let go! I escaped to America with just my purse! I trusted God. The culture shock was traumatic! I felt so lost because everything was so technical and self-serve in my modern world! It was trust God or die! However, I had two different 12 Step programs guiding me to let God make my decisions (AA and Coda). I did trust Him. He did a great job!
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I have spouse #5 now. How perfectly romantic our dating was and togetherness now is. We have never been happier! Now, I help victimized women recognize what they are subjecting their daily life to and how to stop being self destructive. I still get to give and cater and serve, but this time to the ones God puts in my pathway. I reap the joy of seeing withered hearts bloom into life flowers: happy, joyous and free! I do this between the kisses, hugs, and laughter my hubby and I enjoy together. Thank you Ms. Author of that book about letting go and letting God. Thank you, Ms. LeeAnn for bringing that book to me at my 2nd AA meeting in America!

My mom is not the only hardened heart I have known who could not receive my love and dedication. There have been many men and even a few bosses in my life who exist in that cold mode. (They had never been to ‘receive and thank you’ class). Praise God, I finally did take those classes through Coda 12 Step meetings and Coda 12 Step books.

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Let me be very clear about my understanding of all this: I do not know what came first: the chicken or the egg. I do not know if my alcoholism came first or the codependence. I do know that if I had not gotten into Coda and out of my toxic environment, I would not have 12+ years clean and sober. My relapse was a reality waiting to happen!   I was dual addicted and am now I am a double winner!  AA and Coda.

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Lizard Chad B. Sees Ole Drinking Buddy

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Two Christmases ago was my first day in “The Gown” at Recovery Point of Huntington, W.V.. The gown represents where we came from, how we got there, and what it is like now. It also represents successfully completing the program. “12 stepping”.
12 stepping into the gown had a very special meaning for me, being as it turned out to be the last Christmas present to my mother.
She had begged me, and prayed often to God since my train accident for me to go to the Recovery Point. That place really works and the whole Tri-State knows it!

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Finally on May 28 2013 I had enough getting beat up by my addiction and my mom’s prayers were answered and I entered the “Last House on the Block.”
God & Recovery Point gave my mother her son back clean and sober for the last 14 months of her life. She passed away, assured that everything is gonna be alright.
Also, my kid’s got a father back and my dad got his son back and society got a functional member back. That was the best Christmas present I can give.

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I have learned that sometimes the best things in life can’t be bought. Rather they are earned and are more appreciated in the long run. God called my mother home, but He helped me renew relationships with Him and my family.

That night that I staggered into Recovery Point of Huntington, a badly mangled man, I was just coming off a 5 day spree. But I went to the one place that just about everyone said I needed, except me. I was out of options, so I finally knocked on their door looking for the solution. I was welcomed in by several men that are now my brothers. They told me that they would love me until I could learn to love myself.

Over the past 2 in a half years, I have had accomplishments, disappointments and heartbreaks. I have learned during my sobriety that life happens. There is absolutely nothing worth taking a drink or a drug for. I learned how to trust God. Heck! I learned how to love myself and others!
Recovery has been worth it for me. I keep getting rewarded by God, because I still put forth effort to do the next right thing today. Thank you 12 Steps and my support team, and Recovery Point of Huntington, WV. (now with 100 beds and run by their own alumni)

“As we go through our day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times through each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easy for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. “
AA Big Book 87-88

On my way to work last month, I ran into an old Vietnam Veteran, that I used to drink alot of beer with under the Farmdale bridge in Barboursville, W.V. He recognized me, but I couldn’t recognize him, because his health had deteriorated and jaundice had taken over his frail body the past few years. He is still a drinker and sometimes seeks refuge at the Veteran’s Home.
I was pleased to see this man again. I remember he once gave me a sleeping bag and some food he had stashed. He is and was a good man. It is just that the ISM got him!
I pray that he receives the help he needs and a warm home this winter. This disease of addiction affects many lives. And seeing this man that day was my daily reminder of the end result of years of alcohol abuse.
But by the Grace of God I no longer pick up or use no matter what – Just for today!

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It’s almost Christmas and after work yesterday evening, I was waiting on my bus, and a homeless gentleman walked up to me with the usual small talk; then, he finally asked me for a cigarette and $2 cause he was hungry, of course. I complied and gave him a cigarette and $5 ’cause I had no dollar bills. I told him that I had been homeless before and that there is hope and a solution for him and others that want it. He got offended and told me that I had never been homeless, ’cause if I had been homeless, then why was I all dressed up like I was going to church, and homeless people don’t have jobs. We chatted a bit longer and I told him part of my story of how I went from Park Ave to a park bench to a functional member of society again. He listened to my spill, and as he was leaving he said thanks for the cigarettes and the money, and said he might seek recovery after the holidays.

As I sit here at my apartment thinking about that homeless man as well as the other unfortunate people sleeping outside tonight, I gain a whole lot of gratitude of what I have today. I am repeatedly thanking God for the relationships I have gained and regained since I lived in a 3 room tent on the river bank in Huntington.

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Sometimes I get caught up in making money and worrying about keeping my bills paid. I find myself worrying about how to buy more material things and if I will have enough to buy my kids all they want for Christmas. I get so caught up in life on life’s terms, that I forget that I was once a hopeless individual on the streets. I know that God got me here, and I appreciate the reminders He puts in front of me. I go to meetings to never forget that with one drink or one pill all could be lost! We all have built-in forgetters!

So, remember, as Cindy Lizard reminds us: “Just for today, we do not pick up or use, no matter what!”  Hey!  If you have a desire to share your experience, strength and hope to the world through Cindy Lizard’s Gang, click: Meet the Author and submit your Lizard Tale. Can’t wait to read it!   Wonder what you will look like in ‘lizard green’?

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Cindy Ouellette

Cindy Charles Ouellette SFYB Staff Editor & Author

Son Returning from Rehab or Jail. Now What

 

StopFryingYourBrain.com bcoming most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here and learn more.
Thoughts from a Lizard Doctor Who Cares (director of a city health department in the U.S.A.)

It is important to establish control for the well-being of your family unit. Of course, these are established rules to a greater or lesser extent which are assumed and not written.

However with a return or continuation of an addict in the house, it may become necessary to clarify, establish and / or enforce those (once assumed and not written) issues. Parent(s) feel essential in maintaining family integrity.

The following are common sense rules to consider:
• Curfew to be in home
• A quiet atmosphere to be maintained
• Consideration and respect for mealtime
• Shared chores in maintaining the home
• Discussion and understanding of home expenses
• Use of random drug screening if appropriate to situation
• Maintain control of who is permitted in your home setting
• Insist that addict attend at least (3) three 12 Step Recovery Meetings a week apart from any court ordered recovery program the addict is involved in
• Ask for a signed meeting tally slip or sheet
GetAttachment Tally sheets are available from outside meetings attended with contact data for the person who chaired the meeting and signed the tally. You can also design your own by computer or hand drawn lined sheet with columns headed: Meeting name, place, time / chairperson / chairperson’s contact # to verify attendance of addict / topic / chairperson’s signature.
• Take time to call and check if addict did attend the meeting.

MEETING MAKERS MAKE IT! They can learn that there is a better way to live and find the solutions. Demand that they attend!

The above listed items are not meant to be a conclusive list. Rather it is to indicate that as the head(s) of a household you must be the ALPHA or person(s) in charge (the addicted is not to be in charge. Home is not a Crack house!). Love is important – but for one to live in your home is a privilege. You must maintain dignity and control by consistency, dependability and firmness.

In an extreme situation such as lack of compliance, it may be necessary to act boldly in stating that the addict must separate from the home until and unless established conditions are met.

Critter 19 3beds and a toilet cropped(The City Missions supply a bed and 3 meals a day to the homeless and time to think.) If there is not a city Mission where you reside, locate the nearest one and drop your addict off at one. If this is too hard for the head of family, solicit help from an authoritative figure in the community.

 

Dear Parent Figure: Two critically important goals are apparent:
1. The dignity of the house setting must be maintained.
2. Assistance in addict recovery to the extent as you are capable by displaying a proper home relationship.

Special request: Hi to all My Most Treasured Readers, from Cindy Lizard.
Please help me compile a page of your own ‘Beta Tested’ methods (That means tried and proven to work for you) of house rules you have used in your home environment.

We hope you will share a household regulation that has assisted you in keeping home free of mental and emotional: clutter, chaos, fear and manipulation. Please be a pal, click ‘Meet the Author’ and share these valuable findings with us. I will compile them and post in the future. Many will appreciate you taking time to do this.

Example: One father has the rule that everyone places their cell phone on top of the refrigerator before each family meal. His other rule is that the first family member to pull out a cell phone or device during a meal out (from hamburger to pizza to full course meal) will need to find a way to pay for that family meal.

I highly suggest a change of cell phone (not expensive, just a different cell phone from before) for those in addiction recovery. This is to be a different cell phone with absolutely no old phone contacts! And there are amazing cell phone recovery tools through podcasts, readings and You Tube videos that are all related to addiction recovery. I, the writer, stayed clean and sober over 2 years in a 3rd world country, while living in a house full of alcohol and meditations, by listening to XA-Speakers.org.

XA Speakers

 

cell phone

 

Cell phones are to be tools for good. However they are also being used to find the next fix. Learn to monitor your addict’s cell phone and DO IT. If you do not understand these devices, solicit help from an authoritative figure in the community.

 

 

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