Monday, September 28, 2015

Should the hubby's family warned me about his addiction? My readers say YES.

Moms: When Should You Warn Your Adult Child's New Love Interest?
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BY LIZZY SMITH for Divorced Moms
September 28, 2015
I have written many times about life with my alcoholic husband. I made a huge mistake marrying Rob the Great (Alcoholic). I was naïve about addiction and failed to see the signs that Rob was an alcoholic. I also made a huge mistake dating a guy when I was on a major rebound with my ex-boyfriend, "the one who got away", Tom. I should never have re-entered the dating pool at that point in my life, but I did. And, lastly, I should never have allowed Rob to set the speed of our dating. Before I knew it, Rob had asked for a commitment and I gave it to him in order to keep me strong in not going back to Tom. Before I knew it, Rob and I purchased a home together and, since the damage was done, I went ahead and married him. After a total of six months. That is right-- who gets remarried after just six months? That would be Stupid Dumb Idiotic Me.
So, it is my fault that I married Rob. But what obligation did Rob's family owe me with a warning that he was an alcoholic? They all knew it. It had ended his first marriage and that was well known, too.
As parents, when our adult children have major character flaws, should we keep our mouths shut and let the adults work it out among themselves? Or are we morally obligated to speak up and save everyone more heartache?
Since I have my own opinion and experience, I decided to ask divorced women readers in a private forum. It is a most unscientific poll but it was 10 to 1 SPEAK UP. When there are minor children, it was more like 20 to 1 to speak up if there are major issues, like abuse, addiction or violence. I thought the comments were interesting and I think you will, too. I am posting them below with almost no editing, just for style and typos.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Life in the Alcohol Zone: No mom should EVER have a phone call like this one

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, as much as we may try to forget, some events are unforgettable (for all the wrong, awful, horrific reasons). Last night, my mom was reminiscing (not in a good way!) about her last conversation with my ex-husband, Rob the Great (Alcoholic). I have to admit that these stories are really hard to write because when I am done, I feel sick. Still, these stories must be told because they are REAL and I am not the only one who has suffered (is currently suffering) horrible abuse. The more I come out of the shadows and share my story, the more I know I help others. And while my entire body is tense right now, it is important to get this out, to continue purging, and to memorialize things that should never go unrecognized. It was really hard living my former life, it was REALLY hard leaving and sticking up for myself during our contentious divorce, and it is really hard sharing it. But to the extent that I help one person escape alcoholism and abuse, it is worth it. Just one. It will be worth the pain I experience every time I write and relive it. My stories are RAW, REAL and HONEST. I wish I could say I exaggerate them but I do not. Please, if this is you, save yourself. And I pray that we parents never need to have this conversation with our child's partner, ever. Because it is awful. My latest via Divorced Moms.

Much love always,


 My God, It's THAT Bad. My Mom's Last Conversation With My Hubby
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September 23, 2015
635543455974092208Fotolia_69062263_XS.jpgI've written about life with my ex-husband, Rob the Great (Alcoholic) often. A quick recap: he was a functioning alcoholic who was incredibly explosive and abusive. I put up with his inexcusable behavior as long as I could until I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a blood cancer). Just days later, I packed up the car, children and cat and moved from San Diego (I went on disability with my employer) to Utah and into my parents' basement so I could enter treatment. It was quite a dramatic exit, filled with horror. On my way out, Rob threatened to cancel my health insurance if I didn't get my ass home. He accused me of faking my diagnosis, and of being a liar and much more.
In the beginning...
During the time I was married to Rob, he was awesome to my family and friends. He was energetic, fun, outgoing and a fabulous host. You see, when Rob has an audience, he becomes a happy drunk. And, in fact, if you do not know the signs to look for (glassy eyes, mint in his mouth, extra high falsetto voice, slurred speech), you would not know he was drinking at all. You would just think he fun and awesome. When my parents came to visit, he was in extra amazing form-- always with plans to have fun, go boating, go out to eat, throw a dinner party, or drive over the border to Tijuana for lobster.
When my parents went home from their frequent visits, I called my mom almost every day as I was driving home from work, oftentimes to vent about Rob's horrible behavior and our most recent absurd and ridiculous fights. Trust me, fighting with Rob the Great (Alcoholic) after he's had a few drinks (or wants to drink) is something that must be seen to be believed. It is something straight out of a movie: bizarre, over-the-top, and frightening. My mom would be horrified. She had never seen his behavior like that. 
Or did she?
She has shared with me some of the odd behavior she witnessed. Small strange patterns but, knowing what she knew, they were still signs of trouble. They included:
  • How he could sit on the couch watching TV while I cooked and cleaned and worked like a mule
  • How he could come home from work so early and still maintain a job (he was often home, already drunk, by 3PM or even earlier)
  • His constant hand-wringing when he was trying to gather the family to go out and do something fun
  • His high-pitched voice (which got higher the more he drank)
  • His agitation when there was nothing fun on the agenda
  • How he could sometimes go to bed (i.e. "pass out") so early
  • His nearly total lack of doing any true work around the house, like take out trash, walk the dogs, or put a dish away
  • Why he seemed to need so much sleep
  • His constant, insatiable desire to find something to do and near panic when he couldn't
  • How quickly he could become agitated (like one time when I had accidentally cancelled a massage appointment and he would not stop badgering me)
But her last conversation with Rob took the cake. She was describing it last night and it brought back such horrible memories.

Who can wait for a myeloma cure? Not me!

I am so honored and excited to be featured in Myeloma Crowd's video where we answer "Who can wait for a cure? Not me!" It is right here.

The MCRI Is Speeding The Case Of Research
The Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative is now underway. This is the first time that patients have joined together to help find and fund potentially curative research for themselves. Bold? Yes. Needed? Absolutely.
With 1 out of 12 proposed projects actually funded by the National Cancer Institute, bad researchers have long since left the field. Dr. Craig Crews, inventor of carfilzomib, describes it as “cutting into bone” for talented researchers trying to make new discoveries. Young researchers are wary to join a field where they can’t drive to better outcomes for patients, simply because there is no funding.
I can’t sit and wait, can you? To wait for the “standard” process we’ve used for the last 50 years, we will wait patiently for an on-average 10-year cycle to find a new drug. Today, we are thrilled that newer drugs are coming into the clinic for multiple myeloma and are extending life, but none so far are considered to be “curative”. Frankly, I don’t have the time to wait. With a disease that has on average a 4-6 life expectancy, most of us will be gone in that 10 year period if we do nothing.
We have an opportunity before us. With the help of top notch myeloma experts, we have now found two thrilling projects that need our attention and funding. We set out to find solutions for high-risk multiple myeloma. What we found was cutting-edge research that will be effective for high-risk patients but also for low and standard risk patients. These two projects are immunotherapies, or ways to wake up the immune system to fight myeloma. To learn more about these projects, click here.
Patients can’t control everything about their disease, but they can determine how quickly a cure is discovered. While all may not be able to donate to research, we all have family and friends around us who want to see us thrive. Today, you can create your own fundraising page and invite the people who love you to support you by donating to that page. This is a meaningful way they can help  extend your life.
All of the proceeds raised will be donated to these two projects and donors will know exactly how their donation is being applied.
We have donation thank you gifts and prizes for top personal fundraising pages, but our best reward will be to see game-changing research come to the clinic for each of us.
Please join us today to be an agent of change for your own disease.
PLEASE donate! 
Please consider donating to my Myeloma page. Simply click here. Your donation is fully tax deductible. 
Details on MCRI
The Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative has selected two potentially CURATIVE myeloma clinical trials to fund. These trials are happening NOW and are track-able. That means you can watch, participate, and track their progress. Your donation will NOT go into a Big Black Hole of "general donation" never to be heard and scene of again. I am raising funds to help move these exciting projects forward. The very lives of multiple myeloma patients DEPEND ON IT.

We can CURE this blood cancer but I need YOUR help to do this. If you are so inclined, I will be forever grateful for your support. A donation in any amount will help. To donate, simple click here or copy and past this into your browser:

Thank you for considering. I love my readers. You inspire me, you give me strength, and your friendship and support means more than you will ever know.

Regardless of your challenges in life, know that we have the internal strength to overcome. It is not always easy, but we are stronger than we can ever fathom. Go.Fight.WIN!!!

Much love,

Monday, September 21, 2015

When life let's you down, then what? Make a new one or find happiness in the one you've got

My latest via Divorced Moms! This is a subject very close to my heart-- finding joy, purpose and meaning. Yes, it is THAT important!

Letting Go Of The Life You Had & Embracing A Better Version
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by Lizzy Smith for Divorced Moms
September 21, 2015
20150912_092744 (1).jpgI knew from a young age what "success" would look like. It included a husband, a couple kids, a few dogs, a great career, life in a city near a major airport, a nice car and travel. I worked very hard to achieve that. During that time, I think that many of my friends, co-workers and neighbors thought I had it all. I had the husband, two beautiful daughters, a very good job, a beautiful home, two dogs (a lab named Bear and a husky named Pushkin), a vacation home in the mountains, and loads of cool trips. But there were days I would look at my life, totally baffled. How did I end up with this? And why did none of it make me happy? Because after the front door was closed in my beautiful San Diego neighborhood and the children were tucked in bed, and I had a chance to sit on the diving board of my back yard pool with killer views of the city lights off in the distance, I had time to take a good hard look at my reality. And it was this:
-My awesome hubby was passed out drunk in bed
-I still had dishes to put away
-I had loads of work I brought home with me that needed to get done
-I needed to put away piles of laundry
-The dogs still needed their walk
-I was overworked
-I loved my daughters more than anything in the entire world but I had no time to enjoy them
-I detested my husband. There were some nights I would stare at him while he slept/was passed out drunk and I realize that maybe I hated him
-My job did not inspire me one tiny bit. In fact, I felt it a professional wasteland
-Unbeknownst to me yet, I had cancer growing in my body
-My beautiful home, if you looked closely, needed more work than I could wrap my head around. Like the pristine, sparking swimming pool needed to be drained and completely redone. It was like my marriage-- at a glance, it was awesome; look closely, and it was ugly and broken. I did not have the money or energy to fix it
How did I work so hard to achieve a life I hated? Was it possible in middle age to reverse course?

Marriage, clinical trial and Huffington Post!

Well I have had a rather eventful few days!

1. Marriage!

William and I got married last week! We took five days and, just the two of us, explored this amazing country (and, oh, did the whole married thing). It was super fun. We are having our after-party and wedding photos with children and our closest of friends (which happens to include my former step daughter!) in the beautiful Utah canyons on October 3.

Here is my take on the significance of my marriage.

  1. I am capable of being in a fabulous relationship. There is no doubt that William brings out the best in me. I am proud of our relationship; I am proud of the way I behave in this relationships. We have enormous respect for each other and I am so happy to show, by example, my children what a healthy relationship looks like. All those horrible things my ex said about me-- the I was a control freak and a horrible partner-- were simply untrue (I knew they were but sometimes we doubt our sanity when we live in a world of craziness, abuse, and chaos.). 
  2. Many people who have horrible things happen to them, like getting a cancer diagnosis, give up and just survive. But I am here to tell you that it is possible to thrive even under tough circumstances. It is rarely easy but it is a choice we can make. When I was diagnosed with cancer, my entire life as I knew it fell apart. Literally vanished "just like that." The type of life I was living was supposed to end-- my life was pure HELL and I had to do something radically different. Cancer forced me to do just that. And so, literally, we can decide at ANY AGE to reverse course. We can make a totally different life, with new priorities and zest at any time, no matter what. It can be hard and frightening, but the rewards are infinite.
  3. It is truly amazing to find a fabulous partner. When you have each other's backs, well-- there is nothing like it.

...Now the sad part. My 15 year old daughter was devastated that we did the marriage portion in private. She wanted to be part of it, she had a rough week, and I was not there for her. I was mostly out of cell phone range. I missed my daughters horribly those five days we were gone and my daughter needed me. And I needed her. That part was not good. I hope she forgives me and gets distracted in her new life. Or, perhaps, we will have a lovely commitment ceremony amidst the changing leaves on October 3. New season, new time of life. I like it.

2. Clinical Trial (or "I'm no guinea pig!")

Today I am sitting in clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute for like eight hours! I have embarked on my first-ever clinical study. I am super excited about it, and hopeful. We patients MUST get into clinical trials. I am gaining access to a drug that only those of us in this trial can get into.

I am doing this one:

What is the purpose of this trial?

Phase 1b: To evaluate the side effects and determine the best dose of ACY-1215 in combination with Pomalidomide and low-dose dexamethasone in patients with relapsed-and-refractory multiple myeloma. Phase 2: To determine the overall response rate of ACY-1215 in combination with Pomolidomide and low-dose dexamethasone in patients with relapsed-and-refractory multiple myeloma.
Wish me luck! And if you are the praying type, please include me (and all the other amazing cancer warriors out there).  Oh, and I will write more about this as time progresses.

3. I am featured in Huffington Post today!

I'm super excited! I posted a portion of my article a few days ago (which originally published on Divorced Moms) but in case you missed it, I'm reposting a part of it again right here.

12 Signs You're In An Unhealthy Relationship

Posted: Updated: 

There are pretty much universal signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship. If this sounds like yours, it is time to make some huge changes. Perhaps therapy is in order and your relationship is fixable. And in some cases, the only way to save yourself is by leaving it.
1. He is an addict.
If your partner is an addict, you cannot fix him. You must leave if you ever want peace or joy in your life. Some women develop an unhealthy love of the drama that life with an addict brings. Other women are co-dependent and "enjoy" repeated attempts to fix and care for their sick partner. Regardless, if you want a healthy relationship yet are with an addict, it is time get therapy, get strong and get out. There is no other option if you ever hope for joy, peace and love in your life.
Keep reading.... 

Blessings, my awesome readers!


Friday, September 18, 2015

15 Signs Your Relationship ROCKS! I see my relationship in there and, to celebrate, we're getting MARRIED this weekend!!

I'm on my wedding trip (with William, of course). Just the two of us, roadtripping though America's most beautiful countryside, and saying "I do." I'll give you all the details so, but I have to get moving and going now. Here is my latest via Divorced Moms. It is a rather "fitting" topic, I think. I also just learned that another one of my articles has been picked up my Huffington Post! So exciting, I'll post links to that soon.

Peace and joy,


15 Signs That Your (And Your Partner) Relationship Rocks!
By Lizzy Smith                     
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September 16, 2015
635496657177599013Fotolia_48001985_XS.jpgHealthy relationship rock! Does yours fit the bill? Here are 12 signs of a terrific relationship:

1. You trust each other
True trust takes time, and it is earned.

If you trust your guy, when you aren't together, you never need to worry about what he is doing-- and he trusts you in the same way.

You know you can tell your partner anything in confidence and he will not violate your trust. You enjoy his input and opinions and know he always has your back.

2 You allow each other your own interests
I love Bikram yoga and my fiancé never goes with me and, actually, I prefer it. That is my personal time. I also love to go out with my girlfriends to lunch. In several weeks, I am meeting my best friend in Southern Utah for a few days for a girl's weekend retreat. This ought to be allowed and encouraged. It is good and healthy, for both of you, to have a life outside of the relationship (provided it doesn't cross boundaries).

3 You are besties
You truly love your guy. You trust him. You love spending time together and building a life together. I know couples whose time together is a dreaded chore. They are annoyed and frustrated. Healthy couples laugh a lot together, look for new life adventures, and enjoy the mundane chores of life. Eye rolling, loud sighs, and put-downs are basically non-existent in healthy, happy relationships.

4 You communicate well
You can speak to each other about hard topics without fear. You respect each other enough to listen and talk. I remember all too well dreading talking to my now ex-husband because without warning, it could erupt into a screaming match. It was literally frightening. On the flip side, healthy couples talk, work things out, and are a team.

Keep reading....

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Universal traits of really unhealthy relationships

As one who is been in a terribly unhealthy relationship (with an alcoholic) and also a really healthy relationship (my soon-to-be husband), the difference between the two is ginormous. The physical, mental and emotional toll unhealthy relationships have on you are indescribable. Here are 12 universal traits of relationships that need to end now.

12 Signs That You Are In An Unhealthy Relationship
by Lizzy Smith for Divorced Moms                    
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September 15, 2015
635731689254169281Fotolia_79139520_XS.jpgThere are pretty much universal signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship. If this sounds like yours, it is time to make some huge changes. Perhaps therapy is in order and your relationship is fixable. And in some cases, the only way to save yourself is by leaving it.

1. He is an addict
If your partner is an addict, you cannot fix him. You must leave if you ever want peace or joy in your life. Some women develop an unhealthy love of the drama that life with an addict brings. Other women are co-dependent and "enjoy" repeated attempts to fix and care for their sick partner. Regardless, if you want a healthy relationship yet are with an addict, it is time get therapy, get strong, and get out. There is no other option if you ever hope for joy, peace and love in your life.

2. There is physical abuse
If either you or your partner are hitting each other, you must end the relationship. Almost without exception, violence escalates. If this is your relationship, your mental and physical safety are at grave risk. Get help. Get out. Now.

3. He abuses your children
If your partner abuses your children, you must report the crime and leave immediately. It is you moral, legal and ethical duty to protect your children. Failure to do so means there is a very real possibility you may have your parental rights terminated. Theses seems so obvious yet I know a few women who have actually put their children at risk in order to try and keep their guy. It is unbelievably sick.

4. You can't be your "true" self
If you are constantly trying to appease your partner by being someone you're not, you need serious help. If you are afraid that your partner won't like you or may leave if he truly gets to know you, you must confront this reality now. This one can be really tough. When I first met my fiancé, I hesitated telling him about my battle with cancer. I realized that if he knew about my health issues and left me, we had no future anyway. I have tried my best to be the "real Lizzy" from day one because if I am not good enough for my guy, then we are seriously wasting our time. And if he needs to leave the relationship, then there is nothing I can do to prevent it anyway.

5. Your family, friends and children hate him
If those you love the most can't stand your guy, you need to start listening. Ask why and if you see some truth in what they are saying, perhaps you need to re-think the relationship entirely. Plus, if your guy becomes the reason why your loved ones makes themselves scarce, you are becoming isolated in the relationship. Perhaps your guy loves this-- you are all his and he can better control you. And if this is true, you are in a potentially highly abuse relationship.

6. He embarrasses you
Who loves to continually make excuses for the behavior of our guy? No one! If you no longer want to take him with you to public events or around your friends, it is time to end the relationship.

7. He cannot communicate in healthy and "normal" ways
If your guy can't communicate and he resorts to screaming at you, you are in a bad relationship. There is no way to develop love and trust in that relationship. Or, if he refuses to talk about tough issues, you cannot develop true intimacy. Communication is key to any good relationship.

Keep reading...