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The End (the high price of addiction)

My relationship with Scotty ended one night at the Monkey Pub.  I had gone there with Gina and Scotty.  Gina got up to use the restroom and I was left at the table sitting across from Scotty.  When we arrived I was in a good mood and happy.  As I sat there watching him drink his beer that I knew was going to be the first of many, I thought to myself, “What am I doing?  Do I want to spend the rest of my life with an alcoholic?”  My answer to myself was, “No!”  I looked across at him and said, “I don’t think this is working anymore.”  

He asked, “What isn’t working?”

“Us.”

“So just like that it is over?”

“Yes.”

There was ranting and raving about how I would regret it, how I would be alone.  I reminded him of all the times I talked to him about getting himself help.

When Gina came back to the table I told her we needed to go.

Breaking up with a boyfriend who lives next door is not easy.  He flaunted his relationship with Mary in front of me.  I ignored it as much as possible.  I won’t lie, it did make me a bit jealous.  I kept telling myself it was for the best. I knew something bad was coming in the near future.  He had begun drinking in the morning and it continued all day.

One Friday night Wally’s band was playing at the Vogue downtown.  Gina, Rene, and I decided to go.  We dressed up for the occasion and had fun listening to the bands.  Scotty showed up and I tried to ignore that he was there.  When it came time to go home we got a ride home with Stan in his cab.  Scotty joined us and sat next to me.  The entire ride home he kept telling me how he was still in love with me.  I kept telling him he wasn’t.  When we arrived home we all got out of the cab and Stan drove off.  Scotty asked me to go home with him.  I told him no.  I walked into my house and made some tea before going to bed.  I saw him sitting on his back porch pouting.  I was tempted, but I stayed strong.

The next day I walked into his house.  I had something to give to one of his housemates.  There Scotty was sitting on the couch next to Mary.  He followed me into the kitchen.  I looked at him and shook my head.  “That is why I did not go home with you last night.”

“It doesn’t mean anything.”

“Yes it does.  I am not going through this anymore.  I don’t want you to bother me anymore.”

A few weeks later I met Scott at Stan’s birthday party.  I came home one evening to find Wally and Scotty in my living room.  Wally looked at me and said, “Scott called.”  Scotty looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Twice.”  I looked at them both and thanked them and then went upstairs.  I still loved him but I knew he would not change, ever.  

Walking away from that relationship was the hardest thing I have ever done.  He was on a downhill slide and I did not want to see the crash.  A few months later he was dead.  What I had been dreading happened a lot sooner than I expected.

I recently spoke with a young man who was going through a similar situation with his wife.  She was addicted to heroine.  I told him how I had to walk away because people on a downhill slide drag their partners right along with them.  A few weeks later he came to me and told me he was moving back home to his home state.  He was walking away from his wife whom he loved and her addiction.  I told him he has a lot of courage to walk away.  It is hard and painful to watch someone you love self destruct in front of your eyes. It takes great strength to do something about an addiction and those who have sone so should be admired. There is nothing to be done if they do not want to get help, all one can do is save themselves.  

 

Unwanted Harassment

When it comes to harassment women have a hard time in getting the harassment to stop.  The legal system does not have a system set up that would allow women peace of mind by legally forcing a harasser to stop.  When we have a president who has committed offenses himself there is little hope.

For about 2 years I experienced unwanted harassment from a man and no one would do anything about it.  I asked him nicely to leave me alone to his face at first.  He agreed he would leave me alone and walked away.  However the harassment did not end there.  I ended up going to the police, my rabbis and members of the political organizations to which we both belonged.  I was unable to get help from anyone.  I ended up being treated like I was the one doing something wrong.

What is harassment?

According to Merriam-Webster the definition of harassment is:  to annoy persistently,
 to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

Being Harassed at Synagogue

In my case my harasser would come to my synagogue and harass me during our Torah study and services.  This happened at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, WA.  I complained to a rabbi and office staff that this was taking place.  They listened to me and did absolutely nothing, even though his harassment was witnessed by others and recorded on video.  Instead I was treated as though I was a pain in the neck, I was unreasonable.  Meanwhile the harassment continued.

The rabbis at Temple de Hirsch went along with the harassment and participated in some of it themselves. I wondered where in the Torah does it say that a congregant who only wants to go to synagogue to pray and attend services should be harassed.  I wondered why religious leaders would teach others, especially young men, that it is ok to harass women if you do not like them because nothing will happen to you and all that will happen is that the victim will be humiliated and embarrassed in public.  I felt I was being punished for standing up for myself.

The problem comes down to money.  My harasser had a lot more money than I do, so he could do more to support the synagogue.  His bad behavior would be overlooked because he donated a generous amount every year and apparently I do not matter at all.  I feel I should have been able to attend synagogue without being harassed.

Using Legal Means to Stop Harassment

I tried using legal means to stop his harassment.  I filed a restraining order.  According to the court the police were unable to serve my harasser.  I went to the appointed court date anyway.  The judge was a man and has no sympathy for me.  He laughed and said nothing would be done.

The Emotional Toll of Harassment

Constantly being harassed by someone you repeatedly ask to stop takes a huge toll on a person emotionally.  First of all for someone not to heed your repeated requests for the harassment to stop has mental issues that need to be addressed.  It makes a person feel unsafe to know that anywhere they go that person may show up.  I felt like I was being stalked.  Knowing no one would help me make him stop made me feel helpless and I began experiencing depression.

In the end it was one of the reasons I moved to California from Washington state.  I think I have made the right choice as the women of Hollywood are fighting back.  They are setting examples and being role models for other women who are experiencing unwanted harassment.  The worst thing a woman can do is to be silent about abuse or harassment.  No one should experience abuse or harassment and the culture is shifting to protect those who have become victims.

 

 

Dreams

Have you ever woken up from a dream that seemed so vividly real?  You are left wondering what it all means.  Our dreams can be an insight into what is going on in our subconscious.

The definition of the word dream

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a list of 4 different definitions for the word dream:

  1.  a series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep
    • had a dream about climbing a mountain
  2. an experience of waking life having the characteristics of a dream: such as
    a a visionary (see 1visionary 2a) creation of the imagination daydream 

    • the dreams of her youth
    b a state of mind marked by abstraction or release from reality reverie 

    • walking around in a dream
    c an object seen in a dreamlike state vision 

    • a man that was her dream come true
  3.  something notable for its beauty, excellence, or enjoyable quality
    • the new car is a dream to operate
  4.  a strongly desired goal or purpose 

    • dream of becoming president
    b something that fully satisfies a wish ideal 

    • a meal that was a gourmet’s dream

What do our dreams mean?

If one can remember their dream or dreams they had the night before, interpreting them might be a good exercise to get in touch with their true self.  The following are some examples of dream interpretations from howtolucid.com .

  • Water related dreams can mean you feel overwhelmed or unsupported by your loved ones.
  • Getting chased almost always means you’re just feeling in danger or under pressure. You might need to look at what’s stressing you out most in life.
  • Demons and monsters tend to mean you’re looking to change aspects of yourself. If you keep seeing YOURSELF as a demon, you need to think about what you don’t like about yourself, and change it!
  • Falling is a dream symbol that means you’re thinking about letting go of something you’ve been holding onto for a while now. It could also mean that no matter how hard you’ve tried at something, you keep failing at it and you need to let it go.

Getting in touch with our true selves

If you are interested in interpreting your dreams to become more self aware, keep a notebook and pen next to your bed.  Upon waking right down what you remember about your dream or dreams from the night before.  There are many websites that can help you interpret what you remember.  There are also a number of dream dictionaries and there are dream apps.  Good luck with your interpretations and I wish you all sweet dreams.

 

 

Finding Judaism (Part 3)

After about 3 months of attending synagogue, Rabbi Telrav left Denver for the East Coast.  I stayed at Temple Sinai for a while, but when I got a job as an innkeeper at a bed and breakfast my schedule would make it impossible to attend that synagogue.  I decided to attend an Orthodox synagogue as Reform was all I knew.

At the Orthodox synagogue I met with Rabbi Ben Greenberg.  He was a wonderful teacher and I was happy to have read To Be a Jew which explains the Orthodox rituals.  At this synagogue I attended services with a Mechitza, a wall that separates men and women.  During service the rabbi stood in the middle.  I learned a great deal about Jewish tradition, keeping kosher and observing Shabbat.  When my job ended I moved back to the Seattle area.

In Seattle I wasn’t sure where to attend.  Luckily the union I belonged to sent me to an event that was held at a synagogue.  Rabbi Daniel Weiner spoke at that event and I decided to attend a service.  I really felt at home there and began attending.  I enjoyed all of the rabbis there and ended up taking the class required for conversion.  I worked on my conversion with Rabbi Aaron Meyer.  Rabbi Meyer always challenged me to do more.  After 5 years of studying Judaism it was time for the mikvah and to make my conversion official.

Going to the mikvah, a ritual bath, was the most spiritual moments of my life.  I entered the room with the bath alone and took off the robe I was wearing and entered the bath.  Through a screen the rabbis said a prayer and had me repeat it.  I then went under the water once.  Another prayer was said and I went under again.  A third prayer was said and when I went down I knew that when I rose out of the water, after the five years of studying and hard work, I would be a Jew.  It was a moment I can not describe in words.  I felt that I was becoming the real me.

Becoming a Jew has been the most life changing experience I have had.  It has been a positive force in my life and has changed the direction I was going for the better.  I have never worked on something so continuously and with so much enthusiasm.  Allowing faith to enter my life has made me a strong, more thoughtful person.  I thank all who guided me along the journey.

Losing a Best Friend

I started working at Amazon about a year ago.  I worked in one of the warehouses near Seattle, Washington.  While working there I became good friends with Matt, one of my co workers.  He was younger than I and very outgoing.  You could say we were opposites.  We bonded over our love of music.

Matt would sometimes be the lead in the area of the warehouse where we worked.  He would let me work the back dock, which is what I wanted to do.  He always made me feel appreciated and always had a kind word to say.  He made work fun, not just for me, but for everyone around him.

Every evening we would take our breaks together with others from our department.  His younger brother also worked in our department and they had a wonderful relationship.  You could always tell if he was around in the break room because their would be a group of people laughing.  He made everyone happy.

One week I noticed he missed several days of work.  When he came back he said he had been in the hospital.  He said it was something to do with his intestines and he needed medicine he could not afford.  He was there for a while and then he missed work again.

One day I walked into work and was greeted by my coworker Cameron.  He said he wanted to walk with me back to my department.  Something about his request seemed unusual, but I agreed.  We walked about halfway there and were passing a bulletin board.  I noticed there was an announcement on the board.  It said that Matt had taken his own life.  I have been through this so many times I was just numb.  Work was never the same and never as fun.

Matt will be missed not just by me, but by everyone whose life he touched.  I hope he has found peace.