2017

2016 wasn’t a complete disaster.  I experienced gut wrenching pain [death, relapse, difficult life lessons], euphoric joy [recovery, adulting, the perfect job] and learned so much I thought my head would explode.  Even though the vast majority of my news feed couldn’t end last year quick enough, it was just another year for me.  Not one of the best but not one of the worst.  More than anything else 2016 was filled with knowledge for me– collecting experience and gaining wisdom so I could speak my truth. 

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Don’t you just love the optimism associated with new beginnings and a fresh start?!  There’s something magical about advancing a year on the calendar.  How will the next 365 days unfold?  What do I hope to accomplish?  The possibilities are endless!  It’s exciting!

This. Is. My. Year. ⭐️💖🦄
2017’s off to a fabulous start.  Not only did I go to a powerful morning meeting New Year’s Day but I experienced a small miracle.  I have struggled for so long to let go of someone that was not serving me well…my prayer for guidance and strength was answered! 🙏🏻 May this be the year I cleanse myself of toxicity in all forms. I’m ready and willing to be the best me I can be.

No resolutions here.  Instead, I choose to live a daily mantra:  Just for today I will be the best me I can be.”  All I’ve got to worry about is the 24 hours in front of me.  That’s it.  Not yesterday, not next week, not three months from now, but today.  That’s manageable.  My ‘best’ will vary from day to day– but as long as I put my recovery first everything else will fall into place.  With my recovery comes my physical and mental health.  With my recovery comes my spiritual fitness.  With my recovery comes my serenity.  With my recovery comes my ability to be present in my own life.  With my recovery comes my ability to be the  parent, daughter, loved one, friend, significant other, role model, and employee those around me deserve.  Bring it on, 2017.

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I rang in the first day of the new year by claiming my white chip.

Chances are if you’re involved with the recovery community in Memphis, you know the Tower.  Located at Quince and Ridgeway the facility offers six meetings a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  It’s also five minutes from my house.  People literally spent all day at the Tower, gathering before the fist meeting at 8am and leaving after the final meeting ended at 9pm.  Halfway houses came to this area specifically so they could be within walking distance.  I went to my very first AA meeting at the Tower and it was my home group for many years.

Only after the announcement came that the Tower was relocating did I realize how much I’d taken it for granted.  Not only the geographical proximity, but the strong sobriety in that room and the fact that I was never more than an hour or so from a meeting.  So it was only fitting to attend my first meeting of 2017 at the Tower on its last day at the Balmoral location before moving to Cordova.  And so I did.  1 January 2017 marks my sobriety date.

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What a fantastic idea!  Selecting a positive to represent each week of the year creates a fun family tradition.  A single blue folded up sticky note rests at the bottom of a giant glass jar that once housed pickles.  I look forward to seeing the multicolored papers pile up– a tangible reminder of the many things for which we have to be grateful– and watching my children participate in this shared ritual.  Raising the kids with an ‘attitude of gratitude’ fulfills one of the 30495430543953405434 parenting objectives in my book.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Posted in Changes, Inspiration, Memories, Memphis, Parenting, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thomas Brian Bosi

My best friend, Thomas Bosi, was killed on 13 October 2015.  A drunk driver slammed into him and couldn’t be bothered to stop.  He died on impact.  His tragic, senseless, and untimely death sent me into a downward spiral.  Only recently have I started to process this grief and felt comfortable writing about it in detail.  Now that that my sense of denial has dwindled, I know he’s never coming back.  So I want the world to meet one of my favorite people. 

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Thomas Brian Bosi

Bosi left this planet directly across the street from The Cave, with Methodist North in his line of sight.  What an ironic twist.  I know this fact endlessly amuses him.  “Go figure!” I can hear him say, laughing and rolling his eyes.  “And a drunk chick took me out?!”  As a heavy drinker who had driven under the influence on more than one occasion, he would definitely see the humor.  We certainly kept each other laughing.

There’s nothing funny about the fact that his death could have easily been prevented.  It didn’t take long for the police to arrest the woman responsible for plowing into him.  As they displayed her mugshot on television I began cursing and screaming.  I hated her for what she did to me, what she took from me.  And then it became increasingly complex when I realize I knew this woman.  N0t personally, but someone I consider a friend and inspiration is extremely close with her.  I made the connection and felt as though I’d been sucker punched. Once I put two and two together, I began to obsess over her on Facebook.  I viewed her [mostly public] profile daily.  Seeing a picture of her smiling from ear to ear– seemingly without a care in the world– taken after the accident.  How dare she?!  I despised her.  Zero signs of remorse.  Posting pictures that appeared to be happy and carefree.  I seethed at the tackiness and disrespect.  As far as I was concerned she should be miserable for the rest of her life.  Resentment and bitterness crippled me.

But then I thought of what her loved ones must be enduring.  I cannot even imagine how our ‘mutual friend’ feels.  Knowing that somebody you love is responsible for something so awful must be a hard pill to swallow.  Once I stopped using HER as an excuse to drink my perspective began to shift.  I stopped referring to her as a murderer and saw her as a sick person who behaved irresponsibly while intoxicated and the consequence was fatal.  She did not deliberately set out to kill or injure anyone.  In all likelihood she was in a blackout.  I don’t know what goes on in her brain.  Maybe she was smiling to put on a brave face for her family.  If she has a heart and a conscience– who’s to say she’s not consumed with guilt?  Waking up every morning knowing that a person was dead because of you must be one of the worst feelings of despair.  Struggling to sleep at night because you cannot escape the harsh reality of what you did.

I thank Bosi for teaching me an immensely valuable lesson:  forgiveness.  I let go of the hostility and forgave her.  Thoughts of seeking vengeance or wishing negative karma on this woman disappeared.  She will be punished for her crimes in a court of law.  It is not my place to serve justice.  It is my place; however, to hope that she is able to forgive herself and welcome her with open arms into the rooms of recovery if she so chooses.  His devout Catholic faith would have done the same.

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This isn’t a good photo of any of us but I’m so glad we have it.

I’ll never forget the first time I met Thomas Bosi. Z and I received an exclusive invitation to The Cave.  A gentleman with a bright smile, glasses, a button up white shirt, sat on the bed talking animatedly.  His speech and mannerisms were like none I’d encountered in Raleigh.  He introduced himself with a grin and a firm handshake.  We bonded instantly.  I found myself drawn to him like a moth to a flame.  Due to his short stature, unmistakable walk, hyperactivity, speed, and volatility– he was dubbed the ‘Italian Stallion.’  Seeing him always brightened my day.

Z and I parted ways [a fiery incident Bosi never tired of me retelling] and I contemplated my next move.  Bosi invited me to stay with him and his roommates, Jojo and Stuart.  Despite the chaos all around us…those were some of the happiest weeks of my life.  We created a sanctuary among the madness with our own personal oasis.  Every night we’d eat like royalty, candles lit and music blasting, talking and drinking for hours.  If not for the Italian Stallion I never would have met the man who became one of the most significant of my significant others, one of the great loves of my life.  But that’s a story for another day.

My time in Raleigh ended when I went to treatment.  While the boys were mainly boozers, I pursued other substances.  No one was more thrilled that I left than Bosi.  He supported me wholeheartedly in my quest to get clean.  I’ll never forget the time he put on a suit and tie to come visit me in detox, bringing along comfy clothes and magazines.  Or the times he visited me at Grace House, joking about his ‘lemonade stand’ and enthralled by the special friendship I shared with Birdie.  After I graduated he drove out to Germantown multiple times to pick me up and accompany me to AA meetings.  Did he want to go?  I doubt it.  Just like I doubt he had the money to put gas in his car for non-essential travels or insist on always arriving with a present.  But he always made time for me.  He always wanted me to know how special I was to him.  He let me be the center of the universe.

About a month before he passed Joey and I got into fight.  I left Pine Lakes to put distance between us and ran into Bosi. He started laughing and shook his head when I told him that my boyfriend challenged me. During a pause in my venting session he said: “The sooner Jojo learns that Sloane is always right, the easier his life will be.”  That was the last time I ever saw him.

Now all I have are two measly photos and a lifetime of memories.  Allow me to indulge in a few of these….barreling down Jackson Ave. in the car; the daring hotel rescue; psycho lollipop; that glorious dinner at Wendy’s; wreaking havoc in Nutbush; cheese escapades in Kroger; my perpetual bright eyes and bushy tail in the morning; pushing Randy up the hill; the main; doing the simultaneous baseball slides as we hit the spot at the same time; and most of all…TTP!!

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It’s only fitting that he gets my first name tattoo.

Bosi, I miss you.  We all do.  Our neck of the woods will never be the same without you.  Everyone tells stories with you in them.  You’re never far from our memories. Goodwill even gifted us with the Thomas Bosi book!  Larry has it now for safe keeping.  Thank you for showing me unconditional love and friendship.  It warms my heart when people mention how much you loved me.  That feeling was always mutual.

Losing your mother plummeted you into a depression from which you never recovered .  She thought you hung the moon and loved having you around as often as possible.  You doted on her, ensuring all her needs were met, and provided her joy with your company.  Everything went downhill from there.  I find comfort in the fact that you and my mom talked on the phone occasionally.  Did you try to get out of the way when you saw that car barreling towards you?  Or did you never see it coming?  I like to think you were on Cloud 9 out for a moonlit stroll to Walmart and felt no pain….and then you woke up to your beloved mama opening those pearly gates for you.

Thank God for Kevin, who saw the police and identified you, because you did not have your driver’s license.  It hurts me when the news refers to you as the ‘pedestrian’ or ‘dead body’ and mentions ‘the homeless people in the area.’  You deserve to be mentioned– called by name.  Thomas Brian Bosi.  Just because you were living off the grid doesn’t make you any less of a human being.  Your life was just as valuable.  I wish we could have given you the memorial you deserve.  I wish we had a grave to visit.  I wish we had your belongings.

So yes, I think it’s more than appropriate that you are the recipient of my first name tattoo.  Every time I glance at my right wrist I see your name.  That constant, permanent reminder of one of the best friends I’ve ever had.  A man of worth and dignity who taught me so much.in the year and a half he graced my life.  He will not be forgotten.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in * R. i. P. *, Addiction, Birdie, Bosi, Crime, Da Real Homiez, Death, Depression, Jojo Dancer, Love, Memories, Memphis, My Parents, Raleigh | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

I need a meeting.  Since leaving the house right now is not an option I chose instead to steal a few minutes for myself to decompress.  The Barbie Dream House box provides the perfect hiding spot.  Should I log into work?  Holiday pay sounds enticing but I don’t want to flake on my family.  In the meantime I’ll post a long overdue entry.  img_1387My last post was in September.  That’s embarrassing for someone who fancies herself a writer.  You’d never know it from the frequency [or should I say lack thereof?] of Cocktails With Hemingway!  I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep…so I’ll say that I hope to blog more but make no guarantees.  At this point the best way to stay updated with my daily life is through social media.

Facebook = Sloane Wilke Reed

Instagram = sloganthenerd

YouTube = sloanereed

Here lately I’ve been utilizing the ‘Facebook Live’ feature.  I opposed this for the longest time, thinking it was not only unnecessary but borderline narcissistic.  It’s actually pretty fun being able to interact with viewers in real time.  Plus I love enhancing my digital footprint as I know it will remain long after I am gone.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Employment, Family, Holidays, Kids, Motherhood, My Parents, TeePee | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swamped Sloane

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.  Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

busy

You know it’s mandatory OT when ‘shower’ becomes a scheduled luxury on your to-do list.

BUSY.  See me breaking out the caps, bold, and underline for emphasis?  ‘Busy’ doesn’t even begin to cut it.  I’m swamped.  Two weeks into the production phase [which is a fancy way of saying I’m working independently and no longer in training] of my new job overtime became mandatory.  It’s only a temporary response to a huge product launch but the restrictions on OT have been lifted.  Think 60 hour work weeks.  Yet overtime pay is time and a half so I’m trying not to complain too much.  I continue to remain grateful that I am at a place in my life where I can successfully handle the employment factor of the adulting equation.

Juggling work, motherhood, my business, and recovery isn’t easy.  Sometimes I wonder how I’m still functioning.  Most of the time I’m so exhausted I collapse as soon as my shift ends.  Right now I’m at the point where operating at full capacity and staying busy is the best possible thing for me.  But I know my limits.  If I start getting overwhelmed [in the bad way] I’ll scale back on OT and catch up on sleep.  My eyes stay on the prize….le car.

school

I am officially the proud parent of a second grader and preschooler!

Adam and Tatum have settled into their respective school routines.  Both seem to love their teachers.  I’m especially impressed with Adam’s teacher, Ms. D, who has done an amazing job communicating with parents and making learning fun and engaging for her students.  Seeing as how Tatum’s only been in school for a week [three days total] I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know her teachers but I know they’ll be great as well.  The structure and socialization of school is so important for them– especially my son– and I couldn’t be happier for them.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Adam, CM, Employment, Riverdale, School, Tatum, TeePee, Working It | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tater 4.5

Happy half birthday, Tatum!  🎉

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My little girl marks the exact halfway point between her fourth and fifth birthdays today.  She is undeniably smart and mature for her young age, yet in many ways she is so childlike and innocent.  I cannot even begin to imagine her making a cross county trip via Amtrak within the next few months…which is exactly what her brother did when he was that age.  The courage, strength, and resiliency of my children blows my mind.

No matter how much I miss Tatum when she’s at her ‘home away from home’ I cannot help but feel grateful.  Our family survived and remained intact.  We came home– both to our city and our house.  That prospect remained uncertain for a very long time.

Precious Tatum, my sweet daughter, I love you so much.  Every day you make me proud.  We all love you to the moon and back.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Last day of summer

…and what a fantastic summer it was.

Technology galore!  Adam purchased an Xbox with his own money.  Tatum discovered the joy of [supervised] YouTube. My children can work electronic devices better than I can.

Hot, humid days were spent in air conditioned movie theaters or cooling off in the pool.  The kids stayed up later than they should and slept later than they should.  All of us were lazy at times but no one can say we haven’t earned the right to relax.

The boy child won’t get the joke tomorrow morning with a ridiculously early [by his standards] wake up call.  Luckily school starts half an hour later this year– 8:30am– yet he’s still in for quite the shock.  He’s certainly not dreading school but he is nowhere near as enthused as his sister.  She’s ecstatic.  Her school starts Tuesday.

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Summer memories

Endless thanks to the water park at the Jewish Community Center.  Our family adores the JCC.  I don’t think we would have survived the summer without it.  Between the diving board, lap lanes, water slides, toddler areas, and Holy Cow Cafe– it’s a delight for people of all ages.  We could easily spend all day there.  It’s been a joy watching Adam hone his skills on the diving board and swimming to the bottom of the deep end.  And Tatum frequently ditched her arm floaties for some serious doggie paddling.  Even yours truly did some damage on the water slides.

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Bapa and his grandkids frolic in the pool at our summertime home away from home.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Ongoing story

THE NEVERENDING STORY IS COMING BACK TO THE BIG SCREEN!!

Within ten minutes of hearing this glorious news I purchased two tickets.  You best believe we’ll be at the Paradiso on September 4th at 2pm.  I encourage anyone in the Memphis area [or within road trip distance] to buy tickets ASAP because I know they’ll sell out quickly.  There is an additional showing on the 7th if Sunday doesn’t work for your schedule.

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Atreyu and Falcor share a moment.

Being able to share the adventure with Adam means the world to me.  Virtually every single weekend I rented The NeverEnding Story at Blockbuster.  It didn’t matter that I’d seen it a million times, my obsession never dwindled.  I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!  And I just now Adam will love it and become equally obsessed.

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Speaking of all things awesome, Tattoos for Backpacks is back!  Bring a backpack filled with $50 of school supplies to Monster Ink [Hwy 64 or Covington Pike] between August 8th – August 15th and receive a $50 tattoo credit.  Helping local kids start school with all the necessities and scoring some new ink?! Win win.  You can also use the credit for a piercing if tats aren’t your thing.

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John and Sloane take junior high by storm.

I cannot believe my godkids are in middle school!  Seriously?!  Where does the time go?  I remember feeding them macaroni and cheese cups in their high chairs when they were less than a year old.  They look so mature here.  Little Sloane even got her first ‘big girl’ hair appointment, complete with highlights and a venti Starbucks drink.  =)

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Is it my bedroom or is it my office? Both!

The stars aligned to bless me with a new job.  In addition to my business, I will be working as a customer service agent from the privacy of my own home.  Endless thanks to Holly for referring me to this opportunity.  My materials just arrived via FedEx and I begin training Monday.  It’s a full-time job…40 hours, 5 days a week.  Between that and It Works I am no longer stressed regarding finances.  What a relief.  How grateful I am to be my own boss and working from home.  I don’t have to sacrifice time with my children and I still have the freedom to pursue my writing and other endeavors about which I am passionate.

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Memphis skyline

Elvis.  Barbecue.  The First 48.  The odds are ever in my favor that I will hear at least one of these references when I inform a ‘foreigner’ that I reside in Memphis.  Despite the crime and other…divisive issues…plaguing our city, I absolutely adore Memphis.  And I am so proud to call it my home.  Those of us who live here can poke fun at our city.  Those who don’t cannot have that privilege.  😉

If you have ever been a part of Memphis, do not miss You Know You’re From Memphis If… courtesy of our beloved Memphis Flyer.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Adam, Changes, Childhood, Customer Service, Da Real Homiez, Employment, Films, It Works!, Maris- my soul sister, Memories, Memphis, Tattoos, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment