A LETTER TO NEAL

 Hi, Neal - It's Morrene.  Since I have not heard back from you, I am going to make the assumption that you have talked to my mother, Helen. 

To give you a little bit of background, Helen and I stopped talking in approximately November of 2016 when I finally started to acknowledge the years of sexual abuse that I suffered as a child at her hands and the various men that she brought into our lives.  When I tried to talk to her about the first incident of abuse that I remembered, first she feigned ignorance, then she refused to discuss it.

As a healthy parent, if your child brought up allegations of sexual abuse against you, and you knew you weren't guilty, wouldn't you ask what happened?  Where is this coming from??  I don't understand.

Not Helen.  Not once did she reach out to ask me what happened.  She simply stopped talking to me.  She knows she is guilty.

Growing up with Helen as a mother was not easy.  Throughout most of my childhood, I was verbally, physically and sexually abused by my mother and the various men she brought into our lives.  While I always remembered the physical and verbal abuse, I had buried the sexual abuse in the back recesses of my mind.  Unfortunately, I suffered frequent flashbacks over the years, and the memories couldn't be buried completely.

There were six men in my life by the time I was nine.  My mother made some very poor choices in the men she got involved with.  We moved several times while I was growing up, state to state, city to city.  By the time I was in twelfth grade, I had attended eight different schools (almost nine). 

Constant turmoil, constant upheaval, constant commotion.  That was life with Helen.  She thrived on drama.

When I was nine, my mother married her fourth husband, a truck driver named Emil, whom she had known for less than two weeks.  Emil was a pedophile, as was her third husband.  Emil was definitely was one of the worst men she brought into our lives. 

After my mom and Emil got married, we moved back to Wisconsin from California, and that's when the serious gaps in my memory started due to the horrific abuse.  I believe my brother, Jon, has better recall of the past, but I don't believe he has faced it as of yet.  We haven't talked in years, unfortunately.

In 1975, when I was ten, and my brother was eleven, we spent our summer vacation traveling over the road in semis during the week while my mom worked.  My mom said the babysitter had cancelled at the last minute, and she had no choice.  I rode with her friend Elaine while Jon rode with Emil.

It wasn't until I was 52 years old that I started to remember that summer and the disturbing things that happened in that semi.  I had completely blocked it.  It was that horrific.  Although I have always had flashbacks of traveling in a semi with Elaine, I couldn't give a name to what happened.  I am still trying to wrap my head around the memories.

These were and are some very sick people that raised me (some have passed on).  It's shocking.

When I was 15 years old, I tried to commit suicide after Emil raped me.  Later that year I ran away from home.  I just couldn't take the abuse any more. 

While I always remembered the physical and verbal abuse, I had forgiven my mother.  (Again, I had not acknowledged the sexual abuse at that time).

I wanted a mother.  I needed a mother.  I desperately craved the love and support that a healthy mother should give to her child.  Unfortunately, Helen was not capable of being the kind of mother that I needed, or any child, for that matter.  But in my desperation for her love, I closed my eyes to the abuse.  I forgave, minimized and repressed her cruel words and actions over the years, something I continued long into adulthood.

While the memories of the sexual abuse were always in the back of my mind, each time I suffered a flashback, I kicked it out.  They were disgusting and repulsive.  I had no idea where these images were coming from and why they would flash in my head at various times.  They just didn't make any sense to me.  I knew Helen was not a good mother, but I refused to give credence to the many flashbacks that I suffered over the years. 

As the years passed, the flashbacks started pounding me with increasing frequency.  And each time they came in, kicked them out.

In November of 2016, I was at my lowest point, financially, personally and professionally.  My marriage had ended, we had just moved to a new house, my finances were in disarray, and I was no longer able to work as a court reporter, my profession for the past 30 years, due to the high level of on-the-job stress. 

My strength was at its lowest, and I no longer had the energy to kick the disturbing memories out of my head.  I had lost the battle, and it was time to face the past.   

When I finally started to confront the sexual abuse in my childhood, I was  filled with grief, shock and horror.  Again, I knew my childhood was dysfunctional, but accepting the fact that it was that bad was very, very hard for me to process. 

In January of 2017, more of the sexual abuse came to the surface of my memory, and I sought counseling.  At that time I was diagnosed with severe PTSD, something that I had been suffering for years, unbeknownst to me. 

For most of my life I also suffered from depression, insomnia, anxiety and panic attacks.  Those were some very tough years.

I am still missing large blocks of my childhood that have been deleted due to the abuse, but slowly the memories are coming back to me.  Recovering those lost years will be something I will be dealing with for the rest of my life.  

Somehow I was able to overcome the adversities of my childhood, go to college and become a productive citizen.  I believe I have some very powerful angels that have guided me throughout my life, and for that I am grateful.

But most importantly, the cycle of abuse stopped with me.  I have always worked hard to become the mother to my children that I never had.  I have no idea if you are a parent; but if you are, I would hope that you feel the fierce love and protection that a healthy parent should have for their children.  My children are my world, and I would do anything for them.

It wasn't until I started dealing with my past that I started to heal.  I have an amazing counselor and a couple of very close friends that give me love, guidance and support when I need it.  I would be lost without them.  I no longer suffer from depression, anxiety or panic attacks.

I have always been a loving and kindhearted person, and hurting somebody, especially your own children, is and was beyond my comprehension.  It will take me the rest of my life to accept what has happened to me.  I still shake my head in disbelief and wonder how I am still here.

I am starting to work with adult victims of abuse to help them come to terms with their past and learn how to lead a productive and peaceful life.  It is possible.  I am living proof of that. 

While my heart goes out to Helen for what she must have endured as a child to become the person she is, my compassion for her ends there because she did not stop the cycle of abuse.  There is no excuse for passing that sickness on to me and my brother. 

My brother is also a survivor, but I am not sure if he is dealing with the past as of yet.  I suffered years of physical and verbal abuse from him which went way beyond sibling rivalry.  I was absolutely terrified of him by the time we entered our teenage years.  I believe my brother's anger at me was the only way he could deal with his pain.  He was as powerless as I was to stop the abuse.

Unfortunately, I have not talked to my brother in years, although I have tried reaching out to him at various times to re-establish a relationship.  I hope he knows that I will always be there for him if and when he decides to confront the past.  It's not easy, but, again, he is a survivor, too, and survivors are very strong people.  Every day I pray that he reaches out to me, and we can unite and heal together.  He was as much of a victim as I was.

Lastly, Neal, please remember there are two sides to every story.   If you have talked to Helen, I am sure you have gotten an earful.  When you have time, if you could please read my blog, I would appreciate it.  Www.heartofsolace.com.  I have not posted everything that I have written, because some of it is very disturbing, and I am still trying to process it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Morrene Hauser

FRED, THE THIRD HUSBAND, PART 1

Shortly after I started second grade, I came home from school one day and saw a man I did not know sitting across from Mom in a living room chair. 

Mom looked at me and said, "This is Fred, and we're getting married."  

Mom was dressed in a bright red corduroy pantsuit with  matching short jacket and two skinny white belts encircling her slim waist.  With false eyelashes enhancing her brown eyes, black teased hair and wig, high cheekbones and beautiful smile, Mom was a stunning woman.  

Excited to meet Fred, I sat on the floor beside his chair and proceeded to tell him about my day at school.

"Morrene, be quiet!  Nobody wants to hear about that!" Mom said.

"Well, why do you think anyone wants to hear what you have to say?" I shot back.

When I saw the furious look on her face, I started to crawl away in panic.  I knew I was in trouble.  Fred grabbed my leg, dragged me back to him and spanked me, and I was sent to my room crying.

That was my first introduction to Mom's third husband.

- - -

When Mom met Fred, she was working as a secretary for Congressman Hanna, a job she hated.  Mom could barely make ends meet every month with her low salary and the money Dad gave her for child support.  The financial stress intensified Mom's chronic insomnia and made her crabby and short tempered with me and Brother. 

Mom was tired of struggling, and she felt Fred could give her the life she wanted, to not have to work, free of financial worries, someone to help watch me and Brother and plenty of time to ride her horse, Jazon. 

After Mom and Fred got married, she bought a young Arabian Thoroughbred stallion named Quazar, and she started breaking him to ride.

- - -

Brother and I frequently fought as siblings often do, and that made Mom very angry.  Although I tried hard not to complain when Brother hit me or called me cruel names, sometimes the injustice was too much, and I would cry out in pain and anger.  

"Goddamit, SHUT UP, YOU FUCKING LITTLE BASTARDS!"   Mom would yell furiously when she heard us arguing.

Sometimes I made the mistake of trying to tell Mom what Brother had done to me, which only made her more angry, and she would start slapping me and Brother in the head repeatedly until we were both crying hysterically.  

I didn't like it when Mom yelled and hit us.  I loved my beautiful mom very much and didn't like to see her upset, so I tried not to complain when Brother called me names and hit me.  

- - -

After Mom and Fred got married, Fred and his dog, a German Shepherd named Jasper, moved in to our little house in Anaheim.  Shortly after Fred moved in, Mom quit her job.  Happy to have time to herself to do as she pleased, Mom's mood seemed to improve. 

- - -

Fred and his father, Fred, Sr., a tall, elderly white haired man, owned a company in Long Beach called Taylor & Son Decorating that manufactured cheap plastic holiday wall decorations, Santa Clauses, reindeer, Easter bunnies and garland for Christmas trees.

Fred and his father also owned popcorn and cotton candy machines, several ponies, a couple of mules, a stagecoach and a wagon.   On weekends Fred, his father and the migrant Mexican workers who worked for them  loaded up the animals and equipment and worked at various carnivals, company picnics and other events around Southern California selling popcorn and cotton candy and giving people rides in the stagecoach and wagon that the mules and ponies pulled.

Many weekends Fred and his father worked at Calamigos Ranch, several acres of land located in the hills of Malibu. 

Mom often sent me and Brother to work with Fred and his father on the weekends, and we would wander around alone at the events.  

While we were gone, Mom was free to do as she pleased and often spent the day at the stables with her horses where she was the happiest. 

- - -

Fred was a tall man of medium build, dark thinning hair combed straight back, and he wore black rimmed glasses.  He had cruel dark eyes and an angry downturned mouth.  He did not live with us very long before we all felt the impact of his anger and cruelty.

Our little dog, Muffin, did not escape Fred's abuse after he stepped in a puddle of her urine on the living room carpet one day. 

"Bad dog!  BAD DOG! BAD DOG!  You do not piss on the floor!" Fred yelled at Muffin.

Poor Muffin looked up at Fred with terrified eyes as he towered over her, her little body shaking in fear and urinated on the floor where she was sitting.  Incensed, Fred grabbed her by the neck and roughly threw her in to the back yard.

Fred did not like me at all, often cruelly mocking me and laughing when I talked.   My very existence seemed to annoy him to no end.

Brother and Fred seemed to get along well, and Brother escaped his abuse.

- - -

 Mom didn't like to cook, so we often went out to eat in the evenings when we weren't at the stables. 

I absolutely loved eating in restaurants.  My usual dinner of choice at that time was a hot fudge sundae.  When I found out where we were going to eat, I would excitedly say, "I'm getting a hot fudge sundae!"

When Fred heard me, he would turn to me with hate in his eyes and angrily say, "Shut up!  Nobody asked what you wanted!"

Needless to say, it didn't take long until I was absolutely terrified of Fred. 

It was not long after Mom and Fred got married that they brought me into their bed and started sexually abusing me.  Child abuse was not talked about when I was growing up, and I had absolutely no idea that the uncomfortable things that they did to me were wrong.   Each time they brought me into their bed, I did my best to put it out of my head and not think about it. 

Mom frequently warned me and Brother not to talk about what went on at our house.  Brother and I were also taught from a young age to always obey and respect adults. 

So I kept silent.  That's just the way it was in our house. 

 TO BE CONTINUED…

THE BEST PART OF MY NERVOUS BREAKDOWN, by Morrene Hauser

Now, before I tell you the best part of my nervous breakdown, let me get something straight.  I am not and never would make light of a mental health disorder.  Never.   I suffered a nervous breakdown and was voluntarily hospitalized for one night in January of 2017.  I know the pain and the fear.  Trust me.

As I was saying...

Right before the first set of repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse came to the surface of my memory, for a period of about three weeks, I laughed and laughed.  I laughed until I was bent over double leaning against a wall, tears rolling down my cheeks. 

Laying in bed at night trying to get some sleep was difficult.  Because I couldn't stop laughing.  Night after night I lay in bed curled in to a fetal position hugging my knees laughing silently in to my pillow until it was soaked with tears.  Now, that does not make for a good nights' rest.

When I wasn't laughing uncontrollably, I got the giggles.  Putting my hand over my mouth to try to stop them didn't work.  It just made me giggle all the harder.

Forget trying to talk to me about anything serious during this time.  It just didn't happen.  I couldn't have kept a straight face if my life depended on it.

Going to the grocery store, the gas station, a visit to my doctor's office was difficult.  Again, I just couldn't control myself.

I always tried to warn whomever I was talking to that I was a bit loopy because I was getting a dissolution and please forgive my laughter.  Of course, my words of warning came out in bits and spurts between bouts of uncontrollable laughter.

I completely stopped working during this time.  Working in court, a hearing, an arbitration or a deposition is serious business.  And it would not look good if I, as the court reporter, was in hysterics.  I simply didn't trust that I could conduct myself properly in a professional setting.

Being self-employed has a lot of perks.  But no work equals no pay.  And that hurt.

Anybody that knows me well knows how much I love to laugh.  But, really, this was a bit over the top.  Even for me.

But I never questioned why I felt the need to laugh so much.  I just accepted it and enjoyed the ride.  I thought since I was able to laugh that I was finally coming to terms with the difficulties in my personal life.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Sure, I had a few problems.  Nothing these broad shoulders couldn't handle. 

My marriage had ended.

Living with my soon-to-be ex-husband was very stressful, to say the least.

My children were hardly speaking to me they were so hurt and angry at me for leaving their father.

I was suffering extreme burnout professionally.

We had just moved to a smaller house, a decision that I alone made with no support from my husband.

Major financial stress.

And, unbeknownst to me, the repressed memories of my childhood abuse were coming at me like a speeding train that would ultimately knock me off my feet.

A year and a half later, as I write this article, I can finally put the laughter in to perspective.  I now realize how good it was for me.  I desperately needed the release, and laughter provided that. 

The events leading up to my breakdown and the year and a half it has taken me to finally feel "normal" have been eye opening, to say the least.

And that, Reader, is my firsthand account of the best part of my nervous breakdown.

AHHHH, SLEEP..., by Morrene Hauser

AHHHH, SLEEP...

I hope I am not out of line or going to embarrass myself (yet again) by sending you this letter.  You rarely answer me when I reach out to you for help, but I will try, and hopefully you will respond this time.

I am begging you, Sleep, to please read this letter to the end.  Throw it away, burn it, rip it up when you are done.  I'll leave that to you to decide.

I will try not to bother you after this letter, but I cannot promise.  I have no pride where you are concerned, Sleep.  None.

Please do not feel I am attacking you, but, Sleep, my friends tell me that you are sleeping with them.

"I slept with Sleep until 10:30 this morning!"

"Me and Sleep slept like a rock!" 

"I took the most wonderful nap with Sleep today!"

Smirks on their faces, laughter in their voices as they look in to my eyes knowing of my obsession for you.

And, yes, a little voice in me says go to hell! 

Go to hell.

But that doesn't last long.

I am a lover, not a fighter. 

And a forgiver.  Always a forgiver.

I awoke with another panic attack at 2:00 a.m. this morning, Sleep. 

Whose bed are you in at this very moment?  My heart pounds.  My mind races.

When I find out whose bed you have slept in, I feel as though somebody has punched me in the stomach.   

Sleep, the days on end where I have to go to bed at 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. even on weekends because I know I need to get some rest before I wake up at 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. and be awake for the rest of the day.

Thinking of you

Loving you

Longing for you

Ahhhh, Sleep...    

The ruined weekends.

The ruined evenings.

Gritty, aching eyes, pounding headache, the mental and physical exhaustion that haunted my days while I tried to work and care for my babies when they were little.   I learned to lay in bed awake for hours with eyes closed so at least they would not hurt.  

Sleep, I am so very tired of disappointing my children because I am just too exhausted at times to do the things they want to do.

My kids would say, "Mom, you just don't want to spend time with me!"

"You don't care!"

Not true, my babies, not true I would say to myself all the while knowing they would not understand at their young age if I tried to explain. 

The missed soccer games.

The missed parties.

The missed school events.

The activities that I did do with my babies all the while concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other.

You can do this I say to myself.

Adrenalin was my drug of choice to get me through those long, difficult days.

The guilt, the shame, the depression, the sadness over disappointing my little ones.  I am so very sorry.

Guilt, guilt, guilt.  The gift that keeps on giving.

Ahhhh, Sleep...

The one-night stands we have.  I never know when you are coming, and that is the best!  I wake up the next morning, and there you are, Lover, sleeping next to me.  It would not be appropriate to write down on paper the pleasures we share in those moments.

The next morning I am endlessly happy!  The sun shines brighter, the birds sing clearer, my obsession for you goes away!

But, Sleep, you cruel, fickle, heartless lover,  the next night you again sleep with one of my friends.   And when I find out who you had slept with, I am crushed.   The depression and sleepless nights return in full force.  Once again, I lay awake in bed wide awake 

Thinking of you

Loving you

Longing for you

The sun does not shine, the birds no longer sing, my obsession for you continues.

Damn you, Sleep.  Damn you

And, Sleep, you must have adored my pregnant body, Lover, because you slept with me night after night.  And, oh, yes, the naps we would have!   

Perhaps you have forgotten. 

But, Lover, I have not. 

But as soon as my babies were born, Sleep, you left me without a good-bye.  Cruel, heartless, fickle Sleep. 

Even when my baby girl was born still, you left me. 

Thank you, Sleep, for at least staying in the hospital with me during that long, difficult birth. 

Again, I am a lover, not a fighter. 

And a forgiver.  Always a forgiver.   

So I forgave you yet again.  Again and again and again...

Ahhhh, Sleep...

please come back to me. 

I beg of you.

I will take one-night stands.  I will take anything.  Join me in the middle of the night, early morning after you have left another's bed. 

I don't care, Sleep.  I am that desperate for your love.

I have not slept with you in several weeks, Sleep.  And I am very, very tired.

Ahhhh, Sleep...

 I beg of you please come back to me.

Please come back.

THE SILENCE OF CHILD ABUSE THAT FOLLOWS IN TO ADULTHOOD, by morrene hauser

When I was a young child, I was taught from an early age to not talk about what went on at our house.  Ever.  For years I heard those words over and over.

"You do not talk about what goes on at our house!" said Mom.

kristina-flour-185592-unsplash.jpg

So that's what I did.  I kept most of those secrets throughout my adult life without even thinking about it.  That's just the way it was.  Silence!

Sure, I talked some about all of the husbands and boyfriends my mom had, the moves and the number of schools I went to.  Even when I did talk about the past, at times I felt some guilt.  I was giving away family secrets.

I did not talk about the sexual, physical or verbal abuse.  I repressed most of the horrible memories.  File the ugliness away in the back recesses of my mind.  Just don't think about it.

Until I turned 51.  That's when the floodgate of my sickening childhood started spilling out.  I will talk about my subsequent nervous breakdown when the memories surfaced.  Just not now.  Now I want to focus on silence.

When I started recovering my repressed memories, my friends tried to be very helpful.

"Just don't think about it!" 

"Don't think about the past.  Look to the future!" 

"Forget about it!" 

"So you're sitting home feeling sorry for yourself?" said an ex-friend.

As in my childhood, my friends were encouraging silence.  Ouch. 

For years I drank too much.  I suffered panic attacks at night.  I had severe insomnia.  Depression.  Anxiety.  And the list goes on.

All because I didn't think about it.  I couldn't think it.  It was just too frightening and painful.

My friends, don't you see?  In order to move forward with my future, I have to deal with my past.  Facing the grief, the horror and the sadness of my childhood has helped me immensely, as hard as it is.  For 18 years I was abused to varying degrees.  Now, that's a lot to process.  I will be dealing with that for the rest of my life.

Thankfully, I rarely feel a need to drink now.  The anxiety and depression that were my constant companions almost on a daily basis for years have significantly decreased.  Panic attacks at night are minimal to non-existent.

I still struggle with insomnia some nights.  But it's much better.

If you know of someone that is dealing with abuse, whether present, past or both, please do not tell them not to think about it.  That is one of the most painful and hurtful things that can be said to a survivor who has suffered in silence most of their life.

 

 

PANIC ATTACK, by Morrene Hauser

 "No!  NO!  NOOOOOOO!!!!" I scream as I am violently awoken from sleep

I sit bolt upright in terror

sheer terror

as I feel my heart jump in my chest,

gagging and choking

I struggle to breathe

feeling my heart travel up my throat

watching in horror as it flies out of my mouth

bounces onto the bed

and out the window

What just happened?

OH, MY GOD, WHAT JUST HAPPENED??

                 - - -

Panic Attacks...

...I am tired

So very, very tired

Please release me from your loving grip

Through the long, lonely nights of my childhood you tried to guard me from the many abusers in my young life,

the many states,

the many men,

the many houses,

the many lonely and scary rooms I slept in you watched over me,

mothering me,

worrying for me,

caring for me   

You woke me up at the least sign of danger 

You held your head in your hands and cried tears of grief and anger

body shaking with rage

at your helplessness to stop the horrors inflicted upon my young, innocent body

But it's okay, Beautiful Heart.  You have done nothing wrong.

Please do not be hard on yourself.  I know you did the best you could.

I thought you were my enemy when I recognized who you were.  But now I know you were one of my greatest allies.

But, please, it's time to let go. 

Your work is done.

THE TRIP, by Morrene Hauser

Right after school let out for the summer from my ninth grade year, Mom, her fourth husband Emil, and I started packing for our long-awaited two-week horseback riding trip that would take us through the Dakotas and Wyoming. Emil was still off work due to an accident while driving his semi.  Mom took a vacation from her secretarial job.

Mom and Emil's custom-built horse trailer with living quarters was hitched to the matching black and gray pickup truck.  Our horses, Jazon and Quazar, were loaded in to the trailer.  Along with our dogs, Spike and Muffin, off we went to start our trip.  Emil stayed at the truck with the dogs while Mom and I rode.

The steep hills of the trails we rode our horses on in the Dakotas and Wyoming were scary but exciting.  Straight up and straight down at times.  We had to slowly and carefully guide our horses on the dangerous terrain so they would not trip and fall.

As I rode my horse, Jazon, I looked around at the beautiful country and felt the warmth of the hot sun on my back, I felt peace wash over me as I usually did when riding.  I also felt an unusual happiness.  The depression, guilt, shame, sadness, anxiety and loneliness that plagued me on a daily basis were not weighing as heavily on my young shoulders.  The clenched muscles in my body slowly started to relax.

This rare sense of happiness was intoxicating.  I wanted it to last forever.

Mom and I got along well as we usually did when riding.  We exchanged small talk at times but mostly enjoyed the quiet and beauty of our surroundings and riding our horses.  Absent were Mom's usual criticisms and anger about my appearance, my attitude and the way I cleaned the house.

It was a perfect trip.

Mom and Emil must also have felt the same peace and happiness because rarely did they exchange an unkind word with each other or with me.  It was great to hear them laughing and see them smiling.  I basked in the rare kindness and attention Mom and Emil showed me. 

Mom took many pictures of me in my shorts and summer tops when we were not riding.

"Pull your hair all the way back and put your hat on.  That looks really cute!  Let me take a picture."

"Stand next to this tree.   Turn to the side, fold your arms and smile!"

"Here, sit over by this tree with Spike.  Smile!"

Snap, snap, snap went Mom's camera while she smiled encouragingly at me.

I loved the attention that Mom so rarely showed me.

Shortly in to our trip we met a man we called Early.  Unfortunately, time has erased the memory of where and how we met.  He just seemed to materialize out of nowhere.

Mom and Emil took an immediate liking to Early.  In no time at all they were laughing and talking about their shared interests, horses and trail riding.   Early told us about his ranch and the Quarter Horses he owned.

At some point me and Mom went riding with Early.   He immediately took a special interest in me as I rode Jazon, watching and smiling at me and several times complimenting me on my riding ability.  

Although I enjoyed the kindness he showed to me, at the same time I was uncomfortable being the center of attention.  Each time I got a compliment from Early, I would say thank you and shyly look away.  I had no idea how to handle such praise.

Mom proudly told Early that I had been riding all of my life.  She explained to him that I started riding Jazon when I was nine years old, expertly handling my young and spirited Arabian with skill and patience that far exceeded the abilities of such a young rider.

After our ride Early invited us to his ranch.  We toured the barns and admired his beautiful horses.  I was very impressed with all of his animals and his property.

After touring the ranch, we went in to Early's house and met his wife.  She seemed nice but was also very quiet.  I caught her watching me at different times. Each time our eyes met, I would shyly look away.  We did not see her again after our initial meeting. 

Shortly after meeting Early, Mom, Emil and I were standing in Early's barn alone.  Mom turned to Emil and said, "Oh, Early really likes Morrene.  He would definitely try something with her."

Emil agreed.

I looked at Mom silently.  I had no idea why she would say something like that, but I knew better than to question her.  I did not want her to get angry at me.  As with a lot odd things that happened while living with Mom and Emil, I had to put this out of my head.  Again, I knew better than to ask questions.

Mom and Emil told me Early wanted me to come live with him and his wife on their ranch.  He wanted to get me professionally trained to show his horses.

I was very excited!   I absolutely loved horses, and this would be a dream come true!

Mom and Emil were very encouraging. 

Morrene!  What an opportunity for you!  You need to stay and do this! 

We are very lucky to have met Early!

Think of how exciting your life will be!  said Mom.

Emil agreed with her.

Mom took me shopping and bought me a beautiful and expensive pair of brown boots with high heels.  I had never owned such a nice pair of boots.   I was very happy that Mom would buy me something so special for no reason.

Mom repeatedly told me that Early's wife would love to have me there and would buy me many things, clothes, shoes.  Anything I wanted.  That excited me since I rarely got new clothes.

As the time drew closer for Mom and Emil to leave, I could feel my resolve weakening.  I did not want to be away from home, away from Jazon and my friend Lisa.  The thought made me very sad.  I made the tough decision to turn down Early's offer to live with him and his wife.

Mom and Emil's relaxed and happy moods slowly disappeared the closer we got to home.   Soon their impatience and anger with each other and their combined criticism over my appearance and my attitude returned in full force, and the yelling started again.

It also didn't take long before Mom was looking at me with jealousy and hate in her eyes as she usually did.   I looked at Mom in sadness and confusion when I saw her angrily looking at me.  I had no idea what I had done this time to make her mad.

Once again, my constant friends, depression, guilt, shame, sadness, anxiety and loneliness descended heavily on my shoulders.

 

MY JOURNEY WITH SUBSTANCE ABUSE, by Morrene Hauser

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The first time I got drunk I was 14 years old.  I was at my friend's house, and her brother had bought us a bottle of Tickle Pink.  Her parents were gone, and we had the house to ourselves for the evening.

My friend and I did not have to drink very much of the syrupy sweet wine for the alcohol to work its magic.

First the giggles started.  Then the uncontrollable laughter.

I fell to the floor, laughing so hard with my friend that my stomach hurt.  My tight muscles unclenched.  I was able to forget, for a short time, the ongoing sexual abuse, verbal abuse and physical abuse I endured at my house.

Laughter, which was so rare at that point in my life, came easily when I was drunk.

I felt truly happy!  Carefree.  My anxiety, depression and loneliness were temporarily gone.

I wanted this feeling to last forever.

Many, many times throughout my teenage years, my friends and I would seek out liquor.  Too many drunken parties and fierce hangovers to count.

Fast forward through the years, college, career, marriage, children, drinking was always my go-to drug of choice to relax at the end of a long day. 

As the years flew by with the increasing stress from my career, major financial concerns in my personal life and the ending of my marriage, and, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was suffering severe PTSD from my childhood, I always had my friend, a bottle of wine, patiently waiting for me at the end of the day to offer comfort and solace.

After the repressed memories came out and my acknowledgment of the abuse, and a lot of counseling, I have learned more about myself and substance abuse.  Some days are good days, and those are the days that I do not feel like drinking.  Some days are not so good, and I feel the painful depression and anxiety trying to rear their ugly heads. 

I recognize the feelings and try to deal with them in a productive way, meditation, riding my horse, playing with my dog or working out.  Sometimes I am successful; sometimes I am not and have a glass or two of wine in the evenings.  Recovery is definitely a work in progress.

I have an amazing counselor who is helping me deal with my past.  More good days than bad days now, thank God.  I have no idea what life will throw my way as life progresses; but for now, I am looking forward to the future with anticipation and eagerness.

FIVE EASY TIPS ON HOW TO MEDITATE FROM A BEGINNER, by Morrene Hauser

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I have tried meditation on and off over the years to help alleviate the anxiety, depression and insomnia that have plagued me almost on a daily basis as far back as early childhood.  Each time I started feeling better, I would quit, even though I knew meditation would help me during the good times and the bad times.

After a few years of sporadic meditating, I have finally figured out an easy way for me to incorporate it in to my life on a daily basis.

Basically I can break down the process in to five easy steps: 

1.  Meditate first thing in the morning before you get out of bed and start your day.   Do not look at social media or turn on the TV.

2.  I pile a couple of pillows against my headboard and rest against them while sitting in a cross-legged position with my hands in my lap.  The pillows enable me to sit comfortably without getting a back ache.

3.   Start off by setting a timer for five minutes.  I found meditating for five minutes to be excruciating when I first started; but with practice I was slowly able to meditate for longer periods of time.  I now set my timer for 30 minutes.  Some days I can make it the whole 30 minutes, some days 15 to 20.  I never get frustrated if I can't make it the whole time.   I have found that any amount of time spent meditating is productive.

4.  It's almost impossible to clear my mind the entire time.  When thoughts enter my mind, I gently push them out without judgment.  Some days are more difficult than others.  Try not to get frustrated. 

5.  Meditate at night before you go to bed.  Okay, I will admit, I am still working on this one.

 Another good time to meditate is during the day when your thoughts are racing. That is also one I definitely struggle with because I want to keep working on whatever project I need to complete and not take time out. 

Meditation is also great for middle-of-the night insomnia, which we all know is no fun.  Many times I can go right back to sleep after clearing my mind.

Meditation has changed my life.  Although I still have days or times of the day where the anxiety and depression rear their ugly heads, I am able to take an objective look as to why I am feeling those emotions and turn it around.

How many of you meditate?  And, if you do meditate, does it help you with anxiety and depression?   

We would love to hear your comments and any helpful hints for someone who is interested in meditating or someone who makes it a daily practice.