Jun Dishes

verb/diSH/ : food or sex or gossip or fiction in real life

Just Stay With Me Holmes and Rahe: Staying Married in Belgium and Anal Sex and Alcoholism, Etc.

Just stay with me…

Because I’m dramatic and an admitted hypochondriac, I used to refer back to that list on the internet where they list stressful life events, just for fun. I Googled it now and it turns out it’s called the Holmes and Rahe stress scale.

Fancy.

I used to tally up my points, but not to feel sorry for myself. I always did it to give myself a break, to literally cut myself some slack by just stepping back to see just how much was going on in my life. To reassess what is important. It helps me cope and deal with stress and figure out next steps. I don’t recommend this for everyone because it might not work for everyone. In fact, it may depress some of you.

I hope not.

Holmes-Rahe-Stress-Inventory

Mine adds up into the 560s in the last four years of my life.

Why four years?

Because in January, I’ll be living in Belgium four years. I’ll be married for just as long too, considering there’s only a two-week gap between marrying my husband Davy and moving here to Belgium. Hypothetically speaking, this is where my blogs, about being an American expat in Belgium, will go from woohoo-happy-levels down to what the fuck have I gotten myself into-depths and back up again.

Thankfully, I chose to live here. Nobody made me and I didn’t have to, and so this isn’t a boohoo blog, it’s just not a woohoo one. I’m sure there are veteran expats and people married longer than me who are chuckling reading this now. The thing is…

Getting married and staying married, is like comparing oral sex to anal sex. Obviously one’s nothing compared to the other. But in both cases there has to be enough love and lust to happen. I’m not saying you have to have anal sex to stay married. Maybe you do. Maybe I do. Maybe we all do have anal sex when we’re married, if not in practice then surely in mind-fucking. Staying married will ass-fuck you in the mind all the time, which is the ultimate kind of mind-fucking. If you don’t work at your marriage and for your marriage, then it’s not a marriage.

Add to all this a very random and sobering unknown fact about Belgium…

ALCOHOLISM IS RAMPANT.

And particularly in small towns like I’m living in where nobody ever leaves, or goes anywhere for good for that matter, alcoholics are alcoholics until they die, in Belgium. Basically. It doesn’t matter if said alcoholic is a raging one or a functional one, or what age they are.

And then there are the enablers that will always be around and stay around, and cover for the alcoholics and pick up the pieces for them until there’s nobody left and the alcoholic finally dies. I’ll probably be public enemy number one to everyone I offend with this blog, but since I live a life in the 560s on the stress scale, being number one in anything often enough becomes okay.

If I cared about gossip then I wouldn’t have time to care for my marriage and my son. My food business is a whole other baby. If I cared about gossip then I wouldn’t be where I am today, and willingly at that. Talking about alcoholism in 2014 shouldn’t be taboo, here or anywhere…

I tried “way back” in 2011 to seek resources, online and otherwise, and I discovered that AA and Al-Anon are not readily “available” in Belgium like in America. Nothing in Ghent as far as Al-Anon. Shocking and not shocking, but disheartening. Books and forums don’t compare to real conversation.

And it was almost like I was the only one who saw and acknowledged the damage of alcoholism all around, in a country I newly call home. Families breaking up left and right and generations rotting their livers away. Really, the proverbial elephant in the room was a welcomed guest compared to the drunk one who hurt people at every party. I really thought I was the crazy one for a while until I started meeting more people like me, whether expat and born-and-bred Belgian, who acknowledged that yes, the culture here ignores the “problem of alcohol” yet still, gossip about it is like cocaine in the form of the Dutch language. Small-town stereotypes come to life, every day in Belgium.

So this small environmentally-sound and so far fiscally-solid country in the middle of Europe, has some of the best beer and basically-free healthcare…and a shit-load of alcoholics.

Everybody’s living in their proverbial glass houses and most pretend they don’t look into yours when really they watch it obsessively because they hate being in their own house. The chances of people here, particularly women, standing their ground to an alcoholic man, are lower than that of said woman giving up her ass for you to fuck anally. I’d bet my rice that more women in Belgium have anal sex than they do stand up to an alcoholic. And those that do are met with indifference and sometimes ostracized by the very people who should be protecting them.

That is some fucked up shit and I’m sick of seeing it.

Too many people die every day because, you just never know. Alcoholism kills. It kills people but their souls die first, and there’s almost always collateral damage.

I’m a realist, and as a realist, I knew coming into this marriage in a country foreign to me, that I’d be the outsider, and for a very long time. That was fine with me, because I was here forever I do’d to Davy and having a baby was one of our early goals. We achieved this goal and our son Noah shines bright.

You have to have goals. Without goals you’re just living in a broken glass house bleeding imaginary blood. So every now and again when I refer back to the Holmes and Rahe stress scale, I’m reminded of what and who is important in my life, to help me cut out people and things that aren’t. Only then can I focus on Davy and Noah, and other goals in my life.

I said in a recent interview for OneChicklette.com:

Interview

I know now what I want my next big goal to be.

I’ve taken steps to start an Al-Anon program here in my town of Evergem, out of my own pocket if I have to. Size doesn’t matter when all you need is conversation. And most likely I will be using Rice House as a venue for meetings. So I don’t write this to hurt anyone, but merely to inform and hopefully relate, and provide a forum where people feel safe to start that conversation, publicly or privately.

Why? Mostly because I love Davy and Noah, who mean everything to me, and the life we have created here. But there’s alcoholism all around us. I don’t want to ignore it or sweep it under the rug anymore…

Whether you live in Belgium or not, please share this blog. You never know…someone you know who knows someone somewhere may know someone in the Ghent area.

Please also feel free to share your story about life, marriage, expat-living, alcoholism, anal sex, rice, whatever…in the comments section below. As a thank you and welcome back, and gesture of good faith in the world, I’ll be giving away Rice House polos (one women’s and one men’s) to two subscribers. Winners to be chosen in one month’s time.

Polos

So please be sure to subscribe to the site for your chance to win.

And this is basically what my absence here, and recent stresses have manifested in, a big weird “just stay with me blog”…

Always dishing,

Jun

 

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76 comments

  • I think this is a wonderful idea! It will help so many in time. Including yourself, Davy and Noah. God bless you Jun Song!

  • I miss reading your blogs Jun!! Whether it’s your blog, facebook, twitter, or Big Brother … you are fuckin awesome!!! Starting an AA program is an amazing selfless thing to do – Im sure it will be a tremendous success!(just like everything you do!!)

    On the stress scale, my son has autism, so that brought on divorce and money problems and sex problems and just your basic shit storm!! But Im feeling much better now!! 😛

    Ive lived in SW Ontario my whole life ….

    I drink more than I should ….

    Ive never had anal sex(giving or receiving :P) …..

    I like rice, if prepared properly ….

    I like Big Brother … but not so much lately

    Ive got 20 years in at Chrysler building minivans and plan on retiring in 10 yrs or less…

    over-worked .. under-sexed … dont get enough sleep!

    thats me in a nutshell! 😛

    AND … I think you’re awesome, Jun!!

  • My father died of alcoholism a few years ago. He gave up on his life long before that though, too much misery for him to handle in his lifetime. That being said: he also lived for 2 during his life. Maybe one has to do with the other. Either way, I still miss him every single day and wish he would’ve gotten adequate help.

    • That’s an interesting view Kevin…living for two during one lifetime. It’s never easy to just share something like this, this way, so thank you for sharing.

  • Frannie on August 7, 2014 at 8:51 pm said:

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    So very proud of you. As the daughter of a lifelong alcoholic, Al-a-teen helped me so much in my younger years. Dad died years ago but the damage he caused affects me often. I pray that many are helped thru your outreach.

  • Judy Jones on August 7, 2014 at 9:04 pm said:

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    I grew up with two alcoholic uncles, then 2 brothers became alcoholics. One of those brothers committed suicide. We’ll never know if alcohol was a direct factor but I know in my heart it was, at least, an indirect cause. I cannot be around a drunk, it actually causes a fight or flight situation. I am so proud of you for not just seeing and acknowledging the problem but having the courage to do something about it.

    I started following you because you won Big Brother but the reason you are the only BB alumni that I actually continue to follow is because you are a strong woman that reminds me daily I don’t have to deal with the bs people throw at me. You do what you do for your family and your new city, not for glory or fame and that is an honorable thing. Stay strong. Your friends are here to support you.

    • Thank you for settling my anxieties today just a little bit. Staying strong is easier with support and I appreciate all the support I get :) Keep on moving and stay in touch Judy :)

  • Anonymous on August 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm said:

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    Good for you! Also, you will be modeling for Noah as he grows up and becomes curious and alcohol that it can be consumed sparily and enjoyed or abused and destroy lives. I like this goal, realize you will run into denial, hostility and discomfort.

    • I’m running into internal battles too and you’re right. Noah is key in my decision-making in everything especially this. Thanks for the support!

  • That is an admirable goal. I hope it helps people in Evergem. I know they have Al-Anon in Germany because my friend goes to it. Good luck.

  • Erin McSweeney on August 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm said:

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    Wow I’m so proud of you, that is one of the best legacy you can offer your new home town, and I know with perseverance this is something that so many people will embrace. Alcohol has always been a factor in my family, and its just something that we deal with. Thanks for looking to help people not just deal with it, but fix it.

    • Thank you. The perseverance part is totally in my control, and I hope to get this going in a real way. Gently :)

      Thanks again for the support Erin!

  • Side note after reading your blog… My hopes are that you’ll give up having a picture-perfectly clean house Jun. It’s that or get a clone. Awed by all you do in all honestly…

    • Haaaaaaa. Get this…Davy said to me recently that HE has given up on that because it’s not that our house is dirty, it’s just VERY lived in :) We have stuff everywhere in organized chaos, basically.

      Thanks for the laugh Wo, and thanks always for your honesty :)

  • welcome back, good luck with your project, I am sure it will be a success. Hope your bruises are healing up!

  • This is an interesting read, thank you! And love your explanation using ‘anal’ sex… Oh how I adore you so much more…

  • As I started reading I thought “she’ll start an AA chapter friends of Bill”. Starting an AlAnon chapter even better. Terribly destructive. Very sad. Very depressing and so prevalent. Your anger about someone driving drunk with Noah resonated … So sorry, but as usual you have found a way to start to make lemonade out of the sour lemons.

    • Thanks Emily. My voice is sometimes very loud but sometimes quiet…but resonates…and you got it. Noah is protected first. Always :)

  • Dear Jun,

    I’m not writing to win a gift. I’m commentating on your profound desire to take the lead to help others. Seven (7) words come to my mind: “My Resurrected Heart, A Codependent’s Journey to Healing.” This book was recently written by my sister. I think it can be one avenue of help for you as your start on your own journey in your heartfelt love for others.

    Jun Song – Starting an Al-Anon program. What a birthday gift you’ll be “giving” to your newly adopted country. The rewards following will be a gift in return.

    Check out my sisters website: http://dianejellen.com/

    Thank you Jun, for taking this big step, you have my respect and prayers.

    Love,
    Peg Rejent

    • Awwww thank you Peg. And thank you for sharing the info. Information and support is always welcome. Thanks always for your support and love!

  • I met and married an alcoholic. I was a young kid in college and at first thought he was so wild and fun. Fast toward 10 years and he was drinking a case of beer a day. It was 10 years of constantly walking on eggshells. When will he lash out, what will he do to embarrass me today, how much will he drink? Some people acknowledged their was a problem, most did not. We once went to a dr who told him his drinking wasn’t a problem because “everyone drinks in college.” After that I could never again get him to admit he was an alcoholic. I finally left when he started pressuring me into having kids. I couldn’t knowingly bring a child into this situation. Lucky for me I’m remarried with a three-year old and couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately he never did get the help he needed and died from his alcoholism about three years ago (exactly one month after my son was born) at the age of 36.

    • I’m so sorry to hear how you were hurt, and disappointed, but thrilled that you have your family to keep you so happy now :) Thanks for sharing. We can always relate to some point, and it means a lot that you shared.

  • @kcsmum on August 8, 2014 at 4:40 am said:

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    I will always stay. We’ve compared notes often regarding alcoholism rearing it’s ugly head in our lives. I am so proud of you. You stay, fight and re-prioritize. I ran. And I second guess myself to this day. What a wonderful goal for your 40th year. Al-Anon got me thru tough times more than once. Life is a battle. But the reward are oh so sweet.

  • Rebecca McDaniel on August 8, 2014 at 4:43 am said:

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    I lost my sister to drugs and alcohol 2 years ago next week. This was a timely and much appreciated post. I think of my sister often and her two daughters that she left behind. Thank you Jun for doing what you do. Life goes on, but we should never forget.

    • Never forget. My heart hurts a little reading this but you’re so strong to share and shine some light on this subject. Thank you. I wish you strength Rebecca :)

  • Ruby Rooo on August 8, 2014 at 6:19 am said:

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    Your goal is admirable. I wish you complete success in your endevour. I grew up around functional and dysfunctional alcoholics. Functional is easier to deal with, but eventually wears you down. I too spent 7 years as an alcoholic. I can only attribute my change to a higher power, cause I have never attended an AA meeting. I am lucky I never killed anyone driving so drunk I couldn’t standup straight. You may never know that you saved a life, but I am sure you will! Noah and Davy are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing woman running their home.

    • Jun I went to alanon yrs ago if you want to contact me.
      I got some great,stuff out of it but had some pet peeves as well
      Wendy

    • You’re one strong woman Ruby. Thank you for sharing this part of your life here. Driving drunk is one of the scariest things ever. For so many reasons. I’ll keep you in mind here :)

  • You Asked …

    “A Tale of 2 Fathers”

    #1 – The Adoptive One — He drank and took pills daily throughout my young years. They were good enough to drive me around town in the dark, drunk. (I was trained at a young age to hide pills from him in light fixtures). He finally overdosed in my presence one day, in our house. I was 8 years old.

    #2 – The Birthfather One — By the time I found him, I was in my 30s. The way I found him? His obituary in his own local newspaper. He had died a few months prior, a long-time alcoholic apparently. He knew I was alive, but never contacted me once.

    So do what you do …
    Maybe you’ll turn life around in Ghent.
    1 person might be a good start.

    (PS: This tale deserves a shirt. And an apron. And bunny slippers too.)

  • You inspire. My life would take up at least a short novel, but I’m too tired and stressed and it makes me too sad to recount it all. Someday, if you’re interested, I’ll share it with you privately. Thankfully, and on a brighter note, I expect my stressful life to become less stressful very soon.

    • Well that’s good news then (less stressful is good!) :) You are a strong lady Mar, don’t discount that. Thanks for the support :)

  • This is so beautiful. This is so amazing. You have all my support. And you will accomplish this, because it’s coming from the right place. I really want to hug you! Alcoholism is a demon to the addict and those around.

    • I want a hug too! It’s been forever since we saw each other, but you are still the coolest. You get it, even at this “younger” juncture in your life, little mama. Thanks for the love!

  • Okay, so here it goes. Things I have never said out loud to anyone outside of my immediate family. I am sure I will make typos and grammatical errors so don’t pick on me for that Jun!
    I grew up in an abusive home. I watched them haul my mother off to jail in handcuffs after one of the many beatings I endured from her. I would never amount to anything and was nothing but like my asshole alcoholic gambling addicted father. A man whom I never met, nor will ever meet. She remarried, a man that adopted me with his family that never excepted me. I wasn’t his kid therefore I was nothing to them. I endured many years of “family” get together’s with several alcoholic members. They thought it was okay to tell inappropriate sexual jokes around children (i was ages 8 to 14) and slap my ass or come here and sit on my lap so I could have a hard on. Dirty pigs they were. After being taken away and placed in a group home until I was 16 and emancipated because of the emotional and physical abuse from my own mother and other family members I really didn’t know what happiness was. I never felt loved. I was desperate to find someone that loved me. I got married and pregnant at 16. I was hit by a drunk driver 6 months into my pregnancy. Back in 1986, medical abilities for severe premies wasn’t like it is today. I held my oh so tiny son next to my heart while he took his last breath. I grew up real fast. The emotional toll it took on me lead to a divorce. Who was I kidding, I was way to young and immature to be married at that age anyway. I spent the next 3 years rebounding in relationships that were all mentally, physically, sexually abusive. All I wanted to be is loved; I thought the things I did including selling my self was how to find it.
    Then one day this wonderfully handsome guy walked into my life. He showed me what true love is. His family embraced me with open arms. They excepted me for who I was and said my past was just that…the past. Our years together have not always been easy. We have rode our roller coaster of a life together. Thank god I was able to get off that merry go round! For almost a year now we have been living 980 miles apart as we work to start a new life for ourselves in a new state. It’s not easy being separated from the love of my life this way. We just know it’s a sacrifice we have to make to get where we want to be. We have two beautiful, intelligent grown daughters. We are getting ready to celebrate 23 years of marriage in October. My life gave me a whole lot of lemons and thank gosh I like lemonade!
    Never give up trying, never cut yourself short, never compromise your beliefs, never stop being your true self. I learned a lot of hard life lessons over the years; ones that have molded me into who I am today. I thank God for every one of them.

    • I think I knew half of this, maybe, so thanks for filling in the blanks my dear :) You are one hell of a strong woman. And you’re right…we are molded by life lessons, and coming out a little deformed but stronger is worth it every time :) Thanks Ta.

  • My mother married young to a man who turned out to be an alcoholic. He was a totally absent father and she a totally co dependent and also absent mentally parent. For her I was merely an accessory to make her look good and show the world the world that she was a “good” mother. I was raised by my two grandmothers until I was 12 and she was like a moon on the periphery of my life. Cold and distant only observed from afar.

    When I was 12 she was finally confronted with evidence she couldn’t ignore of his infidelity and for all intents and purposes my childhood ended. She moved me with her to a duplex and had to go to work. I became the maid, the cook and general all round flunky. As an adult I asked her why I was not allowed to stay with one of my grandmothers and her response aptly summed up her whole mothering philosophy: “what would people say if I did that?”. Public opinion was all that mattered, never mine. She would disappear for days on end and never tell me in advance or let me know when she was coming home.Life with her was not as horrible as some had it but it was horribly upsetting for me emotionally as I went from being loved and adored by my grandmothers to being completely ignored.

    When I was 15 she married another alcoholic and I visited another level of hell with him. She of course never believed me about anything about ” her man” and it was all my fault. One night when I was 17 her husband and I had particularly brutal fight and he tried to kill me in front of her. After a strategic kick to the balls he let me go and stormed off out of the house. I thought that she would finally believe me. Her response to me was “You ran my man off and now you will have to support me”. I told her she was full of shit and of course he came back and like everything else it we never spoke of it again.

    I relate all this as it made me very self reliant and determined to have a very different life. I started keeping a journal when I was 12 and wrote it in most every day til I was 21 and got married and moved out. One of the hardest things was despite everything I wanted her love and tried over and over to get it. When she died, the first thing I said was: Now she will never love me. I still struggle with this.

    I have been married to the most wonderful and understanding man for 45 years as of last week and tt has been wonderful and horrible, heavenly and hellish, boring and exciting. He is not an alcoholic but has had some experience with them in his extended family. He and I have an incredibly wonderful son who was raised in a loving home. I broke the cycle.

    I wish I had known about al anon or al a teen. It might have made my life easier. I hope you have all the
    success in the world with your endeavor. It is a much needed thing from what you say. I am proud of you and even prouder that I can call you a friend.

    • Sparky. “Public opinion was all that mattered, never mine” really hit me. Thanks for sharing this Sparky. I’m so sorry your mom died like that, leaving you with that kind of regret and struggle. You and Mr. Sparky are so lucky to have each other! Thanks for sharing my sweet lady :)

  • It’s very strange that you should blog about this subject today. I am a recovering alcoholic, sober 36 years. Just this morning I was sorting through some old photos and found a snapshot of a group of AA friends taken approximately 30 years ago. Some of us are still alive and sober. Many have died after living happy and fulfilling sober lives. Others, as you can probably guess, relapsed. Most of those are dead o liver disease, drunk driving accidents, suicides, one guy got high with some friends and they decided to play Russian Roulette – he lost. Some of the saddest were those who stayed sober but failed to deal with their underlying causes, and this is where Al-Anon could have helped. My friend John, couldn’t deal with life so he jumped out of a hotel window. Roz, a lawyer, traded one addiction for another and lost everything she had thanks to a nasty gambling habit. She “borrowed” money from a client’s account and wound up getting disbarred.

    And me? I’m a 208 on the Holmes-Rahe Scale; just found out that the ugly mole on my chest was a melanoma, had migraine headaches that lasted for a solid month (partially due to stupid doctors over-prescribing medication that could have caused a stroke), I’ve been unemployed for three years (can’t find a job because of my age) and… my husband just lost his job. The crazy thing is, I’m ok. My sobriety is solid and my husband and I are laughing at all this because we know we will get through it together.

    So Al-Anon. What you’re doing is wonderful. Just keep in mind that you should keep your expectations low; the only person you can truly help is yourself. If others find recovery at your meetings, wonderful.

    All good things to you, Jun, one day at a time.

    • Amen. “the only person you can truly help if yourself.” Agreed 100% Beth. I remind myself this before I set my expectations. Ha! You get it. Thanks for sharing. The crazy thing is that despite everything, it’s possible to be okay. Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Good to see a post from you again! :) Took me a while to read this, since by title it seemed to be NWS and I do most of my reading at work.

  • I grew up in a small town with AA services (that weren’t really that A) and no support groups for families. A town with a mentality that doesn’t talk about it, acknowledges the problem but has million excuses for its existence.
    As a child from a family with alcoholism present and an adult who moved away from it, I admire you for the idea and I hope you will succeed.
    I think what you’re doing is amazing. Thank you for that.

    • Ugh, the not really A part sounds horrid. That would be such a nightmare. You sound like you know exactly what I mean! Thank you for sharing this and for the support. Your support really helps when I’m feeling anxious!

  • You are awesome. What a great thing to do. I, unfortunately, did not see you on BB, started watching a little later. I admire you for doing your own thing….moving to another Country and starting your own business takes BALLS. I’m, also, a huge fan of honesty

  • My message did not finish. Good luck with no smoking……I need to do it AGAIN, especially since I have mild COPD. Wish I had seen this particular blog when it was posted. Love the shirts, lol.

  • Hi dear Jun…I have been ever so busy with work and patiently counting down the days until I can retire (healthcare in NYC is certainly not free and I can’t afford to quit this crappy job until I am eligible for medicaid or medicare or whichever one it is you get at 65).
    I have been reading your blogs and can’t believe the similarities we share – albeit about 20 plus years difference – from being a moon child (what we used to call the zodiac sign Cancer), to our dad’s passing and kidney disease and now this – the alcoholism…I too was born in a different country – South America..my parents were working for Shell and they divorced when I was 6 months old and I went with my mum to jamaica..lived there or 4-1/2 years and one day was handed over to a flight attendant and with no explanation and on my way to caracas to my dad and his new pregnant wife. I went from being the baby to the older sister that was always in trouble…then at 8-1/2 we moved to Australia where I grew up…back to venezuela at 17-18 until I was 19 when my did disapproved of my boyfriend so sent me back to Sydney to live with an aunt..who got married and and I was on my own..anyway…I have known the good life and the not so good and can only applaud you and let you know you are my hero..much love!

Feel Free to Dish!