“SELF love BEGINS by LOOKING into the MIRROR, and APPRECIATING the VIEW.” Cindy Daniel

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Normally I would have caught up my readers with a new blog post but the past ten days have been hectic with traveling to meet clients while juggling the “ever present tornado in my life,” Stephaney.

Cindy and I were on location yesterday when the friend that took Steph in, Trina, called to tell us that she was returning from an eye Dr appointment in Chicago and saw Steph passed out and sunburned on a park bench. Trina told her driver to stop and picked her up. Trina is legally blind and doesn’t drive. When Steph “talked Cindy and I into flying her to Springfield, Illinois” after we had flown her to San Diego for treatment, the “plan” was that Steph would move into Trina’s second bedroom and be a caregiver. Within 6 days, Steph yet again found drugs and screwed up the plan.

Trina was forced to kick her out. I decided to text her to go to the Salvation Army. For those unaware, the Salvation Army has numerous programs for women including schooling and housing. I never heard back from my niece and assumed (as usual) had either lost the phone or traded it in exchange for Meth. Don’t shake your head. You haven’t been through nearly 18 years of the psychotic circus of loving an addict. You don’t know “the routine.” I do. Cindy does too.

It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and judge when you haven’t had to pick someone up out of the gutter over and over and over again. I don’t care about “other people’s” judgmental opinions.

A few years ago, my grandniece, Makenna sent me a text at the same time she sent the text to Cindy that read “MiMi’s I don’t want to be like my mom. I took all of my anxiety meds.” We were in Abilene after finishing a wedding at TDCJ Robertson Unit. I knew that an ambulance wouldn’t get from Cindys house in Weatherford to Cooks in time to save my grandniece so I called a helicopter while Cindy called an ambulance. See where I’m going with “spare me your judgment?” I effin mean it. You have NO idea of the shitstorm my niece has brought onto our family. Makenna was transferred from Cooks after two weeks to Mesa Springs for suicidal ideation. Makenna has permanent Serotonin Syndrome and heart damage BECAUSE she didn’t want to be like her mother. If I sound angry it’s because I AM.

Cindy had to take a nitro pill yesterday afternoon. Why? Because she was “hopeful” that things would work out between Steph and Trina. BUT when Cindy told her daughter “me and Wendy are NOT going to replace your phone AGAIN.” We aren’t. This angered Steph. We don’t care. She doesn’t need a cell phone. Trina has a cell phone. I had blocked Steph on Cindy’s phone but Cindy isn’t blocking Trina.

Within hours of picking Steph up, Trina was calling Cindy to tell her “she’s yelling and acting crazy again.” Did Steph hide drugs at Trina’s before she was kicked out? I have no idea. BUT that phone call was why Cindy was taking her nitro pills.

I was on the road 16 hours last week when Makenna called because I had instructed Cindy to remind her that “you don’t have to be where you came from.” Why? Because you DON’T. Cindy and I came from a Hellish family and environment. Our mother was a heroin addict who sold all four of her children for $50 each. Cindy and I ARE THE MOTHERS WE NEVER HAD. You CAN be the person you would like to meet AND you can create a life COMPLETELY different from the life you left behind when you left home. Cindy and I did. Our brother did. Our sister, Tammy did too.

ALL of my mothers children BECAME the PARENTS we didn’t have. Intentionally and with forethought ALL of my mothers children BROKE the CHAINS of our past.

Friday afternoon while taking a few hours off to enjoy our grandchildren with a visit to Fossil Rim, my twin burst out crying. This deeply concerned and frightened me. I pulled over. My niece, Leigh Ann was in the “A Vehicle.” She saw me pull over and pulled over too. I asked Cindy “what’s wrong buddy? Please don’t cry. Talk to me.”

My twin took both of her hands and held her own face. “I can’t believe that one of our kids is this self destructive. I can’t believe that we gave them everything we didn’t have and Steph chose this path. I can’t believe we’ve been raising her twin daughters for 17 years in September WHILE dealing with Stephaney’s consistent “relapses.”

She was right. I can’t believe it either. I thought for a moment trying to get my thoughts and words in order. As a child, the trauma we survived caused me to struggle with chronic stutter. In fact, I stopped speaking entirely for a number of years. Cindy spoke for me. I “entertained” myself by reading. Phone books, dictionaries, law books, whatever I could find I read. I taught myself to speak without stuttering by singing along to music in my teens. BUT as an adult, if I’m stressed, panicked OR nervous, my “childhood stutter” haunts me like a Dark Knight. I didn’t want to stutter comforting Cindy. I wanted my “words to come out right.”

I handed Oliver a cookie. I sent Leigh Ann a text that read “give us a few minutes.” Leigh Ann had Maddie in the Rogue I gave Cindy for Christmas.

I looked at my sister, my best friend, the person who has survived so much by my side for so many years and said “we can’t change her. I’ve tried everything. You’ve tried everything. We’ve spent so much money trying to fix Stephaney that we could buy 2 new custom homes my husband builds and sells. Here’s what we can do… we can CHOOSE to STOP trying to fix Stephaney and CHOOSE to live the rest of our lives happy. We can’t change someone who refuses to change. She’s caused you heart attacks. She’s caused my husband heart attacks. She’s caused my thyroid cancer and lumpectomy. She’s caused both of her daughters to attempt suicide. Your husband is now on heart medication. She is LITERALLY killing OUR family. Please sister please let her go. She’s taking up space in your head and heart and she isn’t paying ANY rent!”

I handed Cindy one of my Xanax. It’s so damn hard to look normal with the “Stephaney Cyclone” in the rear view mirror constantly causing chaos that NO ONE fully and entirely understands UNLESS they’ve lived it themselves.

We drove on to Fossil Rim. Cindy had a few laughs. She forgot about Stephaney for a few hours. I was thankful. Relieved.

Friday afternoon I was at Fort Worth FMC. Friday evening we flew out BUT Cindy had her cell phone AND that phone is HOW Stephaney consistently destroys any degree of normality my sister and I might have. Stephaney will borrow a phone to call either of us if she loses or trades the hundreds of cell phones we’ve replaced over this 18 year window. It’s like someone coming up behind you and burning you with a lit cigarette. You are NEVER ready. Stephaney consistently burns us. She burns any degree of normality right out of our lives.

It’s now Sunday and Cindy is resting. I’m sitting in a parking lot waiting on my client fielding texts and emails from other clients and even taking a phone call while writing this blog from my Coffield Client who is “having second thoughts.”

I must stay busy. I must occupy my mind. I was driving to McConnell Unit when I started crying myself. Loving an addict is the most miserable experience that ANYONE can ENDURE. You never stop worrying, wondering, second guessing. Are they dead or alive? Do they care what they are putting anyone who cares about them through? Why can’t they change? Why don’t they want to change? God help me the pain of caring about an addict is like being scraped by jagged glass over and over and over and over.

I’m at Green Bay Unit and Tarrant County tomorrow. I’m at Tennessee Colony Units Tuesday. I have no idea where I am Wednesday because I only check my schedule every 48 hours. Why? Because my schedule is overwhelming.

I’m trying to teach my sister to put her daughter, Stephaney out of her mind. Leigh Ann put things into perspective last week when she told Cindy and I both in the parking lot of Willow Lake Event Center “for nearly 18 years you have both allowed Stephaney to be a PRIORITY. Unless you were working, filming or on location with clients OR trying to look normal with me and Robbie or the grandkids at family events, you both have allowed Steph AND her choices to consume your lives as well as ours. While you were both of trying to “Save Stephaney” for all of these years the rest of us needed you. I can’t even stand to hear her name. She’s taken so much from this family. She’s stolen from me, she’s bullied me, she’s taken so much! Stop letting her take the center stage. She isn’t going to change. I have 2 moms. Robbie has 2 moms. Stephaney HAD 2 moms and she’s abused BOTH of YOU. Your grandkids and your other kids are WORTHY of YOUR ATTENTION. I’m sick of Stephaney. Sick of her.”

Thinking back I was a little shocked at my nieces outburst but she was right. Stephaney WAS taking the CENTER STAGE for ALL of THESE YEARS. I had never looked at “it” the way Leigh Ann was describing “it.”

Cindy and I have always had Leigh Ann. It was Leigh Ann who took care of the twins while Wendy and Cindy ran off on yet another “Saving Stephaney” escapade. Leigh Ann was right.

My client is here. I will try to catch up in a few days but the fear of Stephaney blowing up our lives yet again remains..