There is about 4 cups in a 750ml bottle of Canadian Crest special blend whiskey.
It is 40% alc./VOL (80 Proof).
According to science the amount of units of alcohol per week recommended for a women is 3-4 units.
One shot of the 40% is 1.4 units (2 0z. shot) and about 1/4 of a cup. So if you follow the guidelines that means 3/4 of a cup a week would fall under the recommended number of units.
I know all of this because I measured out my bottle and used a permanent marker to note the amount of ounces etc.
And of course.... according to science I drink to more than the recommended number of units per week.
I grew up being taught to be afraid of alcohol and have really rigid and unyielding standards about it.
I did loosen up slowly over the years enough to enjoy a few drinks every now and again- but I still fairly strictly monitored my consumption. I also still had a somewhat unyielding view on being so drunk that one wakes up with their head in or near the toilet if lucky. I cannot stand throwing up or hangovers so that has always been an equal motivator in addition to the principle that I was raised with. I was taught by my family with religious emphasis that anyone who got seriously drunk at all was an alcoholic.
I also was raised to think this kind of behavior was supremely selfish and unhealthy and that's how I felt the Christmas Eve when my sibling- whom we shall now call Zoe- had to be carried into the house because she was too drunk to stand. It was one of the first holidays with our parents being divorced and Zoe was not taking it well so she decided to drink.
I grew up hearing stories about my father the infamous bad boy who used to be quite the drinker/ alcoholic.
He quit when he found Jesus but I always knew that this new found spirit (the holy spirit) was not much different than the kind which is 80 proof. Mostly because with addiction it is all about the coping mechanism and using religion or even spirituality can still be an unhealthy coping mechanism if one never looks at why they needed to cope in the first place.
You can't use God as your Friday night fix.
My father was really a dry drunk and he buried his shame by being the most judgemental person I know about drinking and alcohol. Alcohol was not allowed anywhere near the vicinity of my home growing up and it was very much seen as something only satan would imbue.
My mother grew up wounded by the effects of alcohol on my Grandparents. I never really had a problem with my Grandmother drinking when I grew up but I could see that it tended to make her more terse and mean. She really didn't drink all that much but to my Mother any drink my Grandmother had was too much. Because anytime my Grandmother poured a glass my Mother was certainly remembering the fights her parents would have when they would drink. She would remember all the times that they fought and threw furniture. I could understand that- but my Mother did have a pretty unbending reaction to alcohol for a long time. She did not start even trying to have a glass of wine every now and again until i was long moved out of the house. She protected herself from the nightmares of the past with religion too- it was a safety guard.
The stories about my Great Grandfather on my Father's side were fairly infamous too. He was a raging alcoholic when my Grandfather was a little boy. And unsurprisingly drink of choice was whiskey. I am fairly certain that even if and when my Grandfather had a drink it was a whiskey of some kind and that is also Zoe's favorite poison of choice as it is mine.
Zoe and I used to joke that whiskey is in our blood and sometimes I think that must be true- because with wine and beer I can only tolerate so much. But with whiskey- it's the only thing I am nearly certain I would have a fighting chance of drinking someone under the table with. Zoe is the same way- whiskey is our thing- it is the family thing.
As I have gotten older I used to be both proud because I was raised to be a cowgirl and tough life out- and also feel horrified because maybe it is not something one should be proud of. Should one every be proud of being able to drink someone under the table? My liver says it doesn't really think so.
Because of my Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather I have always also tried to never let myself go when it came to alcohol. I kept to the rigid tradition I was taught to believe when I was little. For years I was fine- I struggled with all kinds of other substances (Coffee and Sugar mainly) but not alcohol. I always felt that if I didn't take great care I would awaken the family demon that I felt was just always sleeping underneath my in my subconscious. In our culture if you are the child of an alcoholic it is deemed that you are far more likely to be one. Also there is the concept that alcoholism is somehow genetic and that is why there is that feeling of always living with a demon that sleeps peacefully. But if you veer off the track then you wake it and will have to battle to reign control over it again- if you can. And with your "genetic" predisposition who's to say you are not fated to loose?
This is puritan based and puritanical thinking. Sometimes I wonder that if we did not have such a heavy puritan influence of rigid expectations in our culture and especially religious culture most of us would never need to drink to relax, to escape or to cope. Coping mechanisms arrive out of a need to deal with trauma and nothing is more traumatic and self abusive at times than the rules from that are heavily influenced by a puritan type philosophy. We don't even realize how much it has had an influence until we stop and count all the rules we have and all the rules that are often unconsciously followed. We don't know sometimes until we question our way of thinking and believing.
What broke me down and when I finally broke all my own self imposed rigid rules was when my decade long relationship and nearly eight year marriage disintegrated.
The night it finally went up in flames I sat down with a glass of the 15 year whiskey. Because honestly that's what you do. When something like that goes up in flames you pour yourself a stiff drink while you watch everything burn.
And then when you have to put one foot in front of the other- sometimes you need a drink waiting on the counter at the other side of wherever you are walking too.
This whole new version of myself that drank more than I had in a decade was a little scary. I wasn't just brought up to be rigid and reign myself in about alcohol- I was taught that it was necessary to be supremely in control of yourself at all times. The song by Miranda Lambert "This ain't my Mama's broken heart" explains that philosophy pretty well. You're never supposed to let anyone see you cry. If your relationship fell apart then you needed to handle it with a flawless facade- like a Kennedy when Camelot fell. Don't be angry and don't overreact, don't be over dramatic. Smile and bury the pain is the name of the game. And if you don't do flawless and you react or show vulnerability then there will only be you left standing there to blame- and my family is flawless at that. You will guaranteed be left standing alone in the rain with your bleeding heart held out in your hand.
I was so scared of this girl in me I was only now meeting- the one who would actually drink what seemed like a lot to me.
This girl was so out of control- I had finally become the nightmare I was brought up to fear so much.
But I was also brought up to be afraid of riding my bike alone and every little piece of my life wa so controlled.
When you break out of that and you do have control over everything for the first time- you don't realize it right away because you pick up where your family left off and you keep yourself in check.
So when you break out of that- you are standing on the brink of the wide world having to decide for yourself what is right or wrong for the first time.
And you have to decide if what you were brought up to believe was right or wrong- but more importantly right or wrong for you. You also silently apologize to anyone you ever judged prior to this decision moment.
Today measuring out all my whiskey I focused on deciding. I looked over the figures and I decided. I will not be giving whiskey up.I am not out of control and I am not an alcoholic. But I am deciding I don't want to injure my liver and I would like to be healthy. I am not deciding out of fear or because I need to keep beating myself up and try to control myself the way my family taught me. I am simply deciding what is best for me and what will work for me. I have come up with a good plan as to how much alcohol is healthy for me- and even then I refuse to rigidly adhere to it- this is not a whiskey diet thank you very much!
I often think alcohol exists for a reason because there will be days for celebrating, and there will be days when a stiff drink is required. I also don't think the philosophy should always be "everything in moderation" but moderation of excess.
I think that there should be no moderation to the excess of self compassion or grace we need give ourselves.
Diets don't work because they are out of balance with life.
I think with realism and grace then we actually fail ourselves less and then take care of ourselves more.
There was this piece of art in the office of a therapist I used to see.
It had this little poem that went with it that I only half remember now.
But it was something along the lines of this:
" I fell apart and tried to put all the pieces back together as they had been. Then I gave up when they would not fit back together and chose to love them separately as they were".
I often think about that picture and the poem. I think about it especially when it comes to writing and my blogs. A Heart Like Mine was very rooted in where I came from and my struggle with identity as a country girl, a survivor who had been broken into these disparate pieces that helped me get through.
I tried to make them all fit and for them to all make sense- not only for myself but for those around me. But I have started to give up- the bits and pieces don't always make sense or go together but they properly fit me. I am starting to radically think that I should stop trying to jam them together and love them separately as they are. It's still not easy- I am a perfectionist that would like everything to fit at times but I am getting better at it.
The reasons loving a survivor girl are worth it.
- Because so many of us have done years of therapy- and while we may have trauma we know how to take care of ourselves better than those who have not had similar difficulties or those who have never owned their scars.
- Because of this therapy we are often amazing communicators deploying non violent dialogue that is focused on compassion and hearing the needs of the other person we engage with. We also frequently own our feelings and are able to communicate those as well without blaming you for them. Having been blamed ourselves in abusive family dynamics we are likely to care very much about not doing it to you and tread softly.
- We know anger is important and natural. When we don't express it well we often can tell you that we know we are struggling with this. We can tell you that it does not have anything to do with you or something you have done.
- We are often very conscious of the things we learned from our families or other abuse experiences. And while we might have the occasional "flea" I promise you no one will work harder than a survivor to deal with an issue or to make the health of your relationship their primary priority.
- Because when you have experienced great pain and seen or experienced things at a trauma level it changes you. You value the goodness of the small beautiful miracles of life. And while so much of those experiences may have been dark we still most often turn our heads to the light like sunflowers and soak up that miracle sun and we are thankful to be alive. This makes us positive in surprising ways- yet we also know how to sit with you in the dark- and without any judgement and just be with you- because we have been there.
- We are easy to please (but we are not doormats)- again the small loving acts you do mean the world to us. We know we deserve your love and should never settle for scraps- but the small things you do to show you care feel so miraculous and wonderful to us.
- We have often lost a lot of things- including loved ones because of necessary boundaries. So if we keep you in our life we are often dedicated to working on a relationship with you because we know it's value and importance. Don't abuse our goodwill- but we will fight for the good things in our life including you.
To be continued....
She may or may not have told you- maybe you are suspicious that her past and what she brings to the table is deeper than she has yet told you. Maybe she has been vulnerable enough to tell you, or maybe she wants to but is scared to death of the impact she feels it will have on your relationship.
Loving a survivor girl.
What you don't know is how much she wonders if you are going to understand. She wonders if she tells you- will you still hold her in the same esteem and think of her as normal but with curves and edges.
She wonders if you can handle it.
She wonders if you will ever want to have sex with her again or will you be haunted by her past.
Often we want so badly to tell our partners where we have been, the places we come from. But we understand what a heavy burden this knowledge can be and we don't want to share it with you. We don't want to share it because we don't want you to ever feel that burden too- we already know that it is a horrible burden no one should have to carry. We may want to protect you from that. It's like being in the garden of good and evil- you may end up with knowledge but you will also end up with knowing the terrible darkness that comes with it.
We are so afraid that you won't be able handle intimacy with us- because we feel that you will always be thinking of "it" even when we have strived so hard to heal and forget and forge a new life complete with safe love and intimacy.
Some of our partners unfortunately will not only balk at this past but they will label a survivor as damaged goods.
We don't know which you will be until we tell you- no matter how good the relationship has gone up until that point- there is often just something so incomprehensible about abuse that normal people buckle under its weight or cave to disbelief.
We generally expect you to. We are usually always braced for this disappointment.
We want to forget, we want so badly to be normal and not have to feel that we instead stand between two worlds- one light and full of hope and the other a night that is dark and full of terrors.
We often want to protect you as much as we want to just feel normal. We want to protect you from things no person should have to know- we have been forced to eat an apple in the garden a knowledge mostly of humanity's dark side. Sometimes we feel like gatekeepers and what we know about the other side makes us weary, sad and older than our years and we want for you to continue to be innocent and bright- even though we also feel incredible loneliness from not telling you who we are.
Other times we might wear the past as a defense and tell you straightaway to see if you will run or stay- because we think that if you were going to run you were always going to run anyway.
The spiritual Abuse Survivor Network was started by Vyckie Garrison author of the blog No Longer Quivering.
The network developed when "Vyckie [had] noticed that NLQ forum member, Libby Anne, seemed to be doing a lot of processing of her quiverfull experience through frequent posts and comments. She encouraged Libby Anne to write her story for NLQ". The collaboration between Vyckie and Libby Anne (the author of Love Joy Feminism) would help launch the creation of a space for those who have experienced spiritual abuse to come together, share and support.
The network is based on this foundation of collaboration and seeks to promote survivors who are speaking out through blogging about the issues of spiritual abuse " We are working together toward a shared goal of increasing awareness of this issue of spiritual abuse – the control, the confusion, the devastation, our struggles, our triumphs, our survival and recovery."
The network of Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs has focused on steering away from the exclusive and divisive religious practices that they left behind "the Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network employs the proven, non-abusive strategy of teamwork to gain more visibility for all the individual survivor blogs (...) recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of spiritual abuse survivors starting their own blogs - so many awesome, enthusiastic writers who deserve a significant platform!
The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network is committed to helping these survivors succeed."Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network"
THE SPIRITUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR BLOGS NETWORK
No Longer Quivering – Vyckie GarrisonSeeking The Light – Suzanne TitkemeyerLove, Joy, Feminism – Libby AnneThe Phoenix and the Olive Branch – SierraWordgazer’s Words – Kristen RosserIncongruous Circumspection – Joe SandsHomeschoolers AnonymousPermission to Live – MelissaBaptist Taliban and Beyond – Cindy FosterMari’s Muses – MariPast Tense Present Progressive – LatebloomerDispelled: One Girl’s Journey in a Homeschool Cult - Chandra BernatHopewell Takes on Life!The Way Forward – Bruce GerencserBecoming Worldly – Heather DoneyDefeating The Dragons – SamanthaI Am Phoenix – AJWide Open World – Lana HopeFeminist in Spite of Them – Sarah HendersonLeaving Fundamentalism – Jonny ScaramangaLove is Not Equal to Love - Mere DreamerThe Talking Llama -Boze HerringtonThe Lost (And Found) Mind of Kaleesha Williams – Kaleesha WilliamsLiving Liminal – Living LiminalWhat Really Happened In The Church and Life After The Diocese – HGQuiver Full of InformationRethinking Vision Forum
You have likely noticed that this is not the old blog site.
That is because I have switched over to Weebly.com and started something fresh.
Life's a road that sometimes demands a new version of you.
So here I am- I have started a new blog. Some of the content and the focus you will be familiar with and other parts will be a whole new direction or addition.
Thank you for reading!
Nora Juliet Woodhouse
I once knew someone who told me that truth is a chair. That you can describe all the details that make up the chair and it would still be a chair. Such as you could describe all the details about truth and it not be changed either.
She's was wrong.
The details that make up the chair do matter. They matter because they tell you what kind of chair it is. And if you are going to apply this truth philosophy to human beings it matters greatly the detail of truth that make up who we are. We are not black and white- we are vast amounts of grey.
Nothing is more terrifying to a survivor of abuse than this truth.
We come out of abusive relationships and situations determined to protect ourselves and to never be victims again. So we paint the world in black in white so that we can differentiate between the people who are good for us and the people who might harm us.
And this serves us well for a while- especially while we are regrowing parts of ourselves that were damaged from the abuse. We need that protective barrier to heal. But once we are farther down the path and can have full ownership of ourselves we come to a crossroads and we face a difficult choice. Stay within the protective barrier of black and white or venture out to experience the world and trust ourselves to know and decide what is best in a world that is largely grey.
Within the abuse we lost all trust for ourselves and that we could decide who was healthy for us and who was not. Often many of us were subjected to growing up with Narcissist parents who told us we could not know what was good for us. I so often refer back to the movIe Tangled and Rapunzel because it parallels this struggle with narcissistic parent authority that may have ruled so much of our lives. And then when we venture out into the world there is this crossroads where we have to decide to trust things and to trust ourselves.
Rapunzel's mother taught her that she could not trust her feelings or her intuition and that she would not be able to differentiate between people and things that would be bad for her or hurt her. All through the movie she tries to point out the bad and the people who are certainly going to betray rapunzel and she paints a pretty black and white picture. But all throughout the story the things that should be black and white are really grey- from Flynn Rider to the characters Rapunzel meets at the fuzzy duckling. Her mother told her that Flynn Rider would betray her- and while Flynn is a selfish thief at the time he meets Rapunzel that is not all he is- and that is not who he decides to be. Just like Rapunzels mother is supposed to love and protect her and makes it out as that is what she is doing- but the truth is she is selfish and controlling and while Flynn Rider makes a choice to take a different path she does not.
People are complicated and all the details that make them up matter right to the end- because those details are what allow them to decide and at any given moment they have the power to choose something else. The truth is only based on the moment and momentary actions- it is not all defining and all encompassing of the individual. Truth is not a chair- truth is a momentary photography of something or someone. What is more true is the actions and decisions- and even then we grow and redefine those as we go. Truth is unfortunately not static. There is a reason that Tarot cards should not be used to tell someone their future as if it is fixed. Telling anyone their future is fixed bad karma- because what you tell someone is just a snapshot of possibility in that moment or even that second. And the events that would make it true could all be interconnected in such a way that even a slight change can alter the whole outcome. I like to think of seeing or knowing things intuitively or futuristically as wibbly wobbly timey wimey. Time is not linear, nor is truth or human beings.
Not having a simple straightforward answer can be so frustrating and scary to a survivor. What I am learning though about venturing out into the world is that it is less about protecting myself by shutting everything scary out- but by letting the scary in- right into the tower just like Rapunzel did. And when it comes in and shows itself to be bad I trust myself to handle that shit- even if it means wacking it over the head with a cast iron pan. I don't have to shut everything out, and I don't even have to shut out the hurtful people I may encounter because I can trust myself to handle them when I meet them. I trust myself to stay safe as I venture through the world instead of staying in the tower and never seeing the world at all. Hagrid in Harry Potter says "what's comin will come, and we will meet it when it does".
When we venture out into the world we might also find that every now and again people will surprise us- that is the beauty of the grey. That is the beauty of coming out of surviving and instead thriving. Unfortunately because it is scary- the point is not to protect ourselves but to live vulnerably and fearless and to decide. The goal is to trust ourselves and to decide. What happens after that doesn't matter- the good or the bad. What matters is that we decided and that we find we have had our own power all along- and people, circumstances or events don't change that. What matters is being empowered not whether or not we fall down, or get hurt by others. What matters is finding we are empowered no matter what and that any given moment we have the voice to say this is not how this story will end. What matters is not that we never get into situations with toxic people again- but that we are not victims of those situations. When you consciously decide at every point and turn of an experience you are never its victim.
I am learning that it is such a waste to only see people as black and white because we cheapen ourselves. We take away from our capacity to be anything other than a victim and our own capacity to be multi faceted. And approaching everyone as a potential betrayal is exhausting. It feels so much better to go through situations knowing you are deciding. Not only that it is important because even healthy relationships can have hurts. And the only way you are going to figure out if the hurt is something that can be worked through or not is to engage in the relationship and trust yourself to draw healthy boundaries when you need to instead of immediately having to draw the line every time.
Equally terrifying to survivors is that there is no right or wrong choice to make. There is only ever the right or wrong choice for us. And to know how to navigate those choices we have to trust ourselves here too. We also have to be self compassionate and forgiving where our parents were not. There is nothing more unforgiving of choices than narcissistic parents or cultural religions. We often want there to be right or wrong because we want those rules to feel safe. And while having a moral compass is important overall- right and wrong choices outside of that are not black and white and they are not permanently character defining. Narcissist parents like to define your character and who you are early on so they have complete control of you- and often cultural communities we grow up in do the same thing- with less of an intent of harmful control but very limiting and hurtful nonetheless.
Rules keep people safe- but rules unlike a moral compass are often not the right rules for everyone. They are not one size fits all and they are created by people who are not always right or good. Rapunzels mother had rules and they seemed like they were good rules made by a caring parent- but they were good rules created selfishly and used badly. It's scary that we have to decide for ourselves when we have been told for so long what is good or bad by narcissistic parents or others in our lives. We think the first time we break away from the rules or from listening to others "who know best" that we are going down a dark path to our destruction. But often the only thing destroyed are the chains that kept us where we were tied up for so long. The path may be dark and winding but we will meet ourselves for the first time- and the hurt or pain we encounter won't destroy us but give us the tools to decide.
It's okay to see and decide that truth is not a chair. It is okay to see all the pieces that make it what it is. It's okay to say that the chair is actually a tree with leaves, roots and branches. I am slowly reaching the place where I am not just a survivor anymore, I am brightly and brilliantly thriving and I love trees.
I am a former country girl and abuse survivor. I enjoy blogging because I find it personally therapeutic. It also allows me to share my experiences with others, and bring to light issues of abuse. I write under a pseudonym for my personal safety as well as to negate any potential legal trouble over sharing my story.