Book of the Weeks: 4/24-5/7/2017: “Shade’s Children”

Book of the Weeks 4/24-5/7/2017: Shade's Children

This post contains affiliate links. You can view my full affiliate links disclosure at the bottom of any and every page, but, basically, if you purchase this excellent book through the links I put in this post, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

 

Why does nostalgia have such authority over us?

I was recently talking to a friend about nostalgia; about how we will gleefully cram junk food into our gullets or delight over terrible movies and toys that break apart in our oafish hands that are no longer sized for play. All because these things, often shoddy and undeserving of our deep affection, ignite our nostalgia.

It is a potent balm, nostalgia. It brings us back to those times when we were innocent of the vast heartbreak that life often offers; when the sun seemed always to shine, and when we could feel the boundlessness of love, as palpable as a hand on our forehead when we were sick or a hug on the playground.

A lot of things make me nostalgic. Nothing quite so much as books.  I still have my favorite books as a child, tucked away in boxes; a few still on display on a bookshelf at my mom’s house; even fewer on display in my own bookshelf. When I sometimes pick up these books to re-read them, I feel their brilliance before I even peel open their much-abused covers. I still love reading, and delight in it, but when I was a child, reading was a portal to another dimension. Reading the books I loved as a child now is more like a time machine; it takes me back to the place where reading was a form of transportation. And that is wonderful.

One common phenomenon of nostalgia that I typically bypass when it comes to books, however, is the shoddy-quality aspect. From the toys to the movies to the foods I loved as a child, most tokens that cause me to feel nostalgic are pretty much junk from a non-emotional standpoint (oh but how could Tamagotchies ever be called junk). The books I loved as a child, with few exceptions, however, tend to still be quite good reads.

This weeks’ feature book was one of my favorites as a child, and one which I still recommend now as (and to) an adult: Shade’s Children by Garth Nix.
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Sober After Trauma: 10 Simple Ways To Prevent Relapse When Triggered

The Trauma-Mama Guide To Staying Sober During Triggering Times-www.bettysbattleground.com

Life is hard.

PTSD is hard.

Staying sober is hard.

When you have PTSD, and an addiction history, and your life suddenly weaponizes against you, staying sober becomes a monumental feat.

Right now, my life is a landmine of triggers. I lost someone I considered a good friend, who I cared about and was unbelievably hurt to learn didn’t care so much about me. If you have been following my blog at all, you know that losing these long-time friends is a deep fear of mine. Then, I had to attend a Family Court Services interview in which I was asked to disclose the intimate details of my worst abuses to a stranger; I haven’t even disclosed a lot of this stuff to my therapist yet. And, that was only the first half of the interview. I have to go back next week. In a couple of days, I have to actually see my abuser. I’ll be in the safety of a court room with my big, BBJ trained husband by my side, but still…I have PTSD. It’s not cool.

Needless to say, it’s been a tough couple weeks.

Once upon a time, I would be high out of my mind right now and approaching an overdose.

But I’m not. I’m sober. And not by chance. I have worked really, really hard to have a clear head right now. So today I am going to share with you some of the tricks I have used to keep myself from relapsing despite being assaulted by triggers for two weeks straight.

I should tell you guys that I do not adopt the 12-step mentality, which commands that once you’ve had a problem with a substance, you can never get intoxicated again. I do smoke weed (I live in a state where it’s legal) and drink alcohol occasionally.  I am able to control myself, and I do my best not to use these things in a self-medicating context as that is a dangerous action which could lead me back into an addiction. I’m not smoking or drinking now, for example. But I just thought I should tell you, for the purposes of full disclosure, that every once in a while I’ll kick back and have a couple tokes or drinks after the kiddos have gone to bed.

That being said, these tools can help you stay sober in whatever form of sobriety you choose. They can help you stay 100% abstinent from all mind-altering chemicals (okay that’s a lie; oxygen is a mind-altering chemical and I can’t help you with that…but you know what I mean) or they can just help you avoid the substances that cause you problems. I respect whatever form of sobriety you have chosen for yourself. Recovery is hard. Judgment does not help (hear that Anonymous folks??)

Without further ado…

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Book Of The Weeks 3/13/17-3/26/17: ‘Fig’ by Sarah Schantz

"Fig" book review and author interview on www.bettysbattleground.com

This is the first installment of, yes, that’s right, another new segment: Book Of The Weeks. And yes, that ‘s’ is intentional. Book Of The Weeks is a biweekly book review by yours truly.

But but but how does this relate to Betty’s Battleground? What do books have to do with PTSD?

A lot, actually. I have always been an avid reader, but books have taken on a new importance to me in the past few years. I have written about mindfulness, and about how I do certain activities to help enter into reality. Well, reality is hard. For everyone I’m sure, but even moreso when you have PTSD. Sometimes I do things to intentionally escape reality. When I become too stressed, or too anxious, or too overwhelmed with feelings, or overburdened by memories, finding a healthy way to escape reality is really important.

Keyword: Healthy. I used to escape through copious drugs and alcohol. It worked very well! But had some nasty side effects, like ruining my life.  This realization brought me to healthy escapism, and reading works of fiction is one of my favorite forms of that.

Not every “book of the weeks” will necessarily be fiction. I may include some especially excellent PTSD/addiction/parenting texts as I come across them. But fiction is really important to me and my sanity, and the first book of the weeks is an exquisite work of fiction. And it also just so happens to explore the subject of mental illness.

Look after my review for a special BONUS surprise this week!
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