We are so honored to feature Joan Killion Tamburini as our guest author for two weeks. She is vivacious and funny and real and all-around wonderful. Be sure to connect with her via the links at the end of this post. We love her and know you will, too!
In gratitude, harmony, and support,
*Vulnerable Canyon (Part 1)
by Joan Killion Tamburini
For some people, the substance they are addicted to is like an old friend: available, reliable, trustworthy and comforting. Until that “friend” betrays you in the midst of the eventual fallout from addiction: job loss, relationship failure or worse, tragedy and death.
I am going to tell you part of my addiction and recovery story and try my best not to be cliché. Everybody’s story is unique and has very strange and dark elements and mine no less so. However, mine at times played like a Grisham novel – sinister forces portraying themselves to be friends but sucking the life out of my family for personal gain – that is the backdrop to my addiction story.
It all started in the Fall of 2002. What I thought would be a great adventure became a frightening, isolating and destructive experience that filled me with resentment for many years. Never did I imagine the personal strength my journey would demand when I agreed to move to a small town in rural Kansas with my husband and our two small children. People warned me before we left about the small town mindset and how that might be difficult for me to accept. Since we were going to live near and work with friends, I hardly worried about any outside influence that could possibly make our new lives less than perfect.
After relocating, I lived for eight years in an emotional desert and just now have been able to look at the lessons and relate the experience to the good things in my life today. I joked about not having many friends or common interests to enjoy with others in the community as each day I grew lonelier and more desperate. The isolation of a small town – an hour in every direction from a Starbucks, my anchor and beacon of civility – can be the most frightening experience if you don’t really know and like yourself or have an intense passion for whatever you are doing with your time. I had the kids and a beautiful house to take care of, which was wonderful. But at the end of the day, I felt depleted, lonely and devoid of a bigger purpose to my life. I grew extremely anxious and angry. To help (aka “control”) me, doctors would prescribe medications for anxiety and ultimately attention deficit disorder that led to an unhealthy weight loss and addiction. I was taking pure amphetamine and running high on speed 24/7. All under the careful supervision of my medical doctor, so it was perfectly “fine.”
After a few years of small town life, I accepted the boredom and even welcomed the isolation a bit, because by then I really did not care about anything much besides our insular little world and my amphetamines. While I never fully recognized my situation as an addiction, I clearly knew that without the amphetamines, my “zest for life” would subside and I would certainly begin to gain weight. I was addicted to being super skinny and hyper energetic. I thought it made me a better person. But I was so lonely and hollow inside, it was all just a front. Meanwhile, my husband’s personal and business relationships began to disintegrate (turns out, contrary to what he had believed, he would never be a fully participating partner with his “friend’s” family business, and any time there was a way to cut corners or usurp authority and dignity my husband (and our family) paid the price. But we had backed ourselves in a corner. We had to survive because we had cut ties with our big city life to pursue a simple, country life.
To be continued . . .
* I titled this “Vulnerable Canyon” because it depicts the dauntingly isolated feeling that prevailed throughout the period of time I write about here. Plus, we named our new home in rural Kansas “Tango Canyon” to honor my husband’s Argentinian heritage.
Joan Killion Tamburini
Joan Tamburini has been writing stories and plays since she was a young child. Growing up the youngest of seven in a small farm town in the Midwest, Joan relied on her imagination to entertain herself when she wasn’t pestering an older sibling. As an adult, she was a grantwriting and nonprofit professional for many years. She returned to the joy of writing simply for fun on her blog, Cheeky Street, founded in 2014. You can see her writing featured on the blogs BetterAfter50. Joan is a passionate member of the Recovery community, having attained continuous sobriety since June 2015. She writes about her family, pets, sobriety, aging, spirituality and humor. Joan lives with her husband, Michael, and two teenage children, Isa and Mario, in Fairway, Kansas.
Visit Joan’s blog at: www.cheekystreet.com
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