Thursday, August 27, 2015

GUTLESS.


The original version of this blog was posted Tuesday, February 3, 2015. I kept it up a week, then took it down. I made my point, and I didn't want to have to read such nastiness on my own blog.

However,  it recently came to my attention that Bullyville, a renowned & very popular site that aggressively goes after cyberbullies & pedophiles has now focused on my cyberbully...vinniespina.com

Mrs. Spina has apparently renewed her assaults on me on twitter, out of misplaced rage. 

Therefore, I have no choice but to re-post the below, with the original comments. I'm closing any new comments.

I hope someday twitter finds a way to better protect those that are there simply to laugh, talk to people, and discuss issues.

Until then, tread lightly, my smartasses.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Good Little Sober Girl

Speech I gave in Baltimore, on May 13th, 2015 at a luncheon to raise funds for Father Martin's Ashley, a local rehab for women


Thank you so much for asking me to be here today, and to such an extraordinary event.
Does it stagger anyone else that there’s almost no stigma or shame associated with getting wasted or puking on someone’s shoes?  In fact, it’s encouraged. It’s even considered entertaining television to watch people struggle with their addictions.

We live in a society that tells us, over & over, that using is fine.  It’s only when you QUIT that you’re judged. It’s only when you QUIT that you’re encouraged to be quiet, to be anonymous. It’s only when you QUIT, and if you’re God Forbid, open about it, or even dare to write a book about it, that suddenly you’re treated as if you’ve done something wrong.

We HAVE to change this. We HAVE to, because whether we like to admit it or not, this is an epidemic, and more and more people are dying.

There are so few diseases that cause the sufferer to become someone worthy of people’s derision, causes them to hurt the people they love most, act in ways they themselves know is destroying them, and where there is so little support out there for those that suffer from it. Mental illness, eating disorders, and addiction. Or, as I like to call it, the trifecta of Judgement.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Keeping The Marble

My very stubborn, brilliant & beloved young relative Karl Herschede has struggled a long time with alcohol. He wrote me 3 years ago after reading GUTS & admitted he was scared. He couldn't seem to stop drinking red wine.

Karl is the younger brother of my wonderful brother-in-law, August.  Up til then, I never knew him that well, we'd only see each other at holidays and other family gatherings. Despite his quiet nature, I've always loved his sense of humor. That, plus he'd always help my mom put up her endless Christmas decorations every year, which made me adore him.


We've only really gotten to know each other in the past three years, in long emails. In his missives to me, I was always impressed by his intelligence, self-awareness, and desire for sobriety.  He shared with me his dawning comprehension that all of his unhappiness, loneliness & depression, every bad thing in his life were all rooted in his inability to stop drinking.


Despite his brutal honesty about his addiction, every time I suggested different paths to recovery to him...from certain rehabs I knew he'd like to 12 step meetings to addiction psychiatrists to sober friends of mine I felt could help him, he remained absolutely, utterly convinced his willpower was enough.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Seeing the Possibilities in The Impossible


Well, it finally happened.
Dreams really can come true. I've learned you need only one thing to make the impossible possible.
It's not money. Luck. Ambition. Support. Or even hard work.
All those are key.
But the one aspect ESSENTIAL to making any dream a reality is to never, ever, ever give up.

As I sit here, tears streaming down my cheeks, I know that no matter what else happens in my life; no matter how shitty my week has been or how difficult it is to have people question your character or sobriety....none of it matters.

Because today I get to share with all of you this....the best news of my entire life, thus far.

Thank you all who've believed in us & helped so much, for so many years. We love you.

Kristen

UPDATE

Thank you all so much for your support & wonderful words below.
But I have to be totally honest with you. Last year, after the whole Lupus nightmare & then the breaking 15 bones disaster, I called Thom Krauss, my friend & SLAM's board president. After eight years of constant rejection, of trying everything possible to get NYC's kids a recovery school...my heart was as broken as my body. I just couldn't do it anymore. I just didn't have it in me to keep fighting the board of ed, begging for a "yes."
I told him, crying "It's time to shut down SLAM. All the monies we've raised should go to an already existing recovery high school that needs it."
He laughed "SLAM isn't going anywhere Kristen. We have a lot of excellent possibilities we're working on. You just get better."
I was astonished. I was used to being the person constantly shoving this boulder up the mountain. Turns out, Thom had been working his ass off on it the whole time I was sick.

Therefore, it is he who taught me never to give up. I wish I could say it was my own resilience & fortitude, but it wasn't.

It is because of Thom Krauss, Joe Schrank & Michelle Lipinski. They are the ones who, for the last year and 1/2, have been shoving this boulder up the mountain.

I just sit here & look pretty.

Love
K

PS. We're in the process of figuring out exactly how much $$ we need to raise to fund this program. As soon as we know, I'll be bugging you guys for anything you can spare. To those who've already donated, we all thank you profusely. Whether it's $10 or $1,000, it is equally appreciated. 

You're helping to turn this epidemic around, one kid at a time

SLAM's founders Kristen Johnston & Joe Schrank

SLAM board president Thom Krauss & Kristen Johnston
MEDIA RELEASE 
After an eight-year odyssey, today SLAM announced it's bringing a recovery-focused  program to a NYC public high school 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Prudence Porn



Well, since all you animal nutters asked, 
I FINALLY figured out how to load videos on this dang thing. 

Oh, and for anyone who clicked this link hoping for real porn, 
Sorry. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

One Of Those People


You know those people?
The ones who don't bother to ask before forcing you to endure endless photos 
of their children, their pets or, God forbid, a 20-minute film of their Anniversary cruise?

The people my sister and I have always snickered about behind their backs?
Well, ha ha ha. The jokes on me.
I've now become one of them. 
"Hello. My name is Kristen and I'm hopelessly addicted to showing people photos of my dog. Wanna see?"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

KJo's Kolumn of Adequate Expertise




Off the twitter and it feels so good....

First of all I wanted to say that I had been planning to take a twitter break at this time for months.

I knew there wouldn't be new episodes of The Exes for a while, and it seemed like a good time. So, I decided to share my cyberbullying tale & then go.
(Which I later took down, I didn't want to have to read that poison every day. Blech)

Initially, I planned my usual month-long break, but now I'm just not sure. Twitter is full of amazing people, but they have no good policies in place to protect people. Assholes, I can handle. People who enjoy telling me I suck? Love it. Perverts? Piece of cake. But full-blown psychotically obsessed, hate-filled nutcases? No siree, not my wheelhouse.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

I've decided to take down GUTLESS for now.
Thank you so much for all your comments. I read every one.

Right now I'd prefer to focus my energy on positive things, like SLAM, The Exes, my next book, friends, family...
And, as always, Prudence the Princess of Poop.



Oh, and don't think I forgot about that Q & A blog...Sorry. got a wee bit sidetracked there.

Much Love & Kisses

KJo

PS...to Adrienne, who commented on GUTLESS that she was the one jumping in & answering people's questions...I didn't mind in the LEAST. You gave very wise feedback. However, since I asked people to ask questions, and you answered w/o signing your name...to some, it appeared as though I was the one answering people's questions, and I wasn't. That's all, just clarifying to people. Thank you for your lovely remarks & support.

PPS...those sneakers are my skateboarder friend Stefan Janoski's. He's a BADASS, just google him.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Dear Prudence




Anyone who knows me, knows I'm devoted to rescuing Pit Bulls. Over the years, they've brought me such joy. However, as I was browsing the internet looking for a pitty to rescue, I came across an English Bulldog Rescue. Welcome to Southern California Bulldog Rescue - Southern California Bulldog Rescue

I grew up with English Bulldogs, and have always adored them. So I thought "What the hell...I'll check it out." That's when I saw Prudence (then named Nala.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

UPDATE!!!!! Lena's Last Stand


Lena & her daughter Brianna are coming to LA to see my rheumatologist Dr. Daniel Wallace on Jan 28th!
So many of you have been incredibly generous, thank you so much. It's because of you that this trip is even possible. I know it's meant the world to Lena. 

Because of the very complex circumstances that are involved when Lena travels on an airplane (Oxygen tank, etc)...as well as keeping her safe & comfortable here in LA, I'd like to ask that if any of you are inspired to donate any sum of money, it would mean the world to the Zellers.
(go fund me link below)

The other thrilling news is they'll be here in time for a taping of The Exes!!!!
If you haven't yet met the extraordinary Lena, are you in for a treat......


I'm so proud to be able to share with you my very first guest column.

When I created this blog in March,  my objective was always to share not only my own writing, but I also wanted to provide a voice to those who otherwise wouldn't have one.


I'm thrilled and honored to present to you the very first guest column on kjosbigmouth.com.


In the spirit of full disclosure, I did work with the author on editing the piece, she'd never written anything before in her life.  But her truth, rawness, and maginficent spirit just blew me away.


Following her story, I'll share some more important information on this magnificent warrior.

Until then, I hope you enjoy her heroic story of terror, hope, joy, strength and the extraordinary power of love.

This is....
                                                           Lena's Last Stand
by Lena Zeller 

          "Judge me all you want but keep the verdict to yourself"                                                

-author unknown 

Our eyes met in the mirror.
I've never seen her look more beautiful in her entire life than she did at that moment. We both knew this dress was "the one".  I was shocked and mortified to realize I was sobbing with loud abandon, drawing stares from the other customers in the store. I knew I was doing the ugly cry, which is completly out of character for me, but how could I not? 
I wanted to explain that my hysteria wasn't simply because shopping for your child's wedding dress is one of the most important, powerful, joyous, and special experiences a mother could ever share with her daughter. 
I wanted to let these impossibly lucky women understand how blessed they were. That my tears were the result of being slammed out of no where by a brick wall of sorrow, grief, terror and deep, bone-chilling regret. 
Because I now know I'll never see her wear this dress again. (And not just due to the fact that she's yet to even meet her groom.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pinky




Pinky Johnston died at 7:07 pm tonight, on Saturday November 29th, 2014.

I had to give her a small tribute, or I'd go mad.

Pinky was rescued by the ASPCA in NYC.  She was a breeding bitch, and clearly starving when they saved her. By the time I met her a month later, she had been fed well & treated beautifully by the ASPCA.
I'll never forget that day as long as I live.
She was the very first of 100s of dogs I was planning on meeting.
Her name then was "Cookie," and the second I sat on the floor to say hi, she immediately plopped in my lap and looked up at me.
I laughed, looked up at my friend Anouk, and said "Well, I guess she's the one!"
The adoption lady was like "Are you sure? You don't want to see any other ones?"
"Nope. She's the one. I know it."

And she was.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

You'll Never Guess What I'm Most Thankful For....


Today, most people are deeply thankful to those they know who've shown them kindness, generosity, and compassion. They thank God they know people who support them and tell them how wise, talented and beautiful they are. I sure as hell am beyond grateful to them as well.

But flip that coin a second. Some people's day is ruined because some dude not only cut them off in traffic, but decided to give them the finger. Some can't fathom why their mother still adores making them feel like a fat ugly failure. (Hint: Mommy don't feel so hot about herself.) Some are crushed that their newly rehabbed brother showed up today clearly high as a kite. Some are revolted when grown-ups use twitter to do everything they can to destroy another person's life, family, livelihood or reputation.

And on the surface, of course I'm the same.
But scratch me a little deeper, and you'll discover quite the opposite is true.

Monday, November 24, 2014

FINALLY!!!! SLAM update!!!


I know you guys have been dying to know about SLAMnyc.org, and any updates...and I FINALLY have one for you!

First of all, whether you've given us $25 or $250, each and every donation has meant the world to us, and is finally being put to good use.

To fill you in, 8 years ago I heard that there were over 30 sober high schools throughout the US.  4 in Boston area alone.
Yet NYC & state has zero.

We at SLAM have worked our asses off trying to get the NYC board of Ed to give us a yes to go ahead with the school, and despite many people passionately supporting the idea, and multiple meetings with the board, we've been unsuccessful.

Our one true champion through all of this has been Erik Bottcher as well as Michelle Lipinski, the brilliant & talented principal of our sister school in Mass, North Shore Recovery High school.
She's come down to meetings at city hall, attended fundraisers, always bringing dazzling graduates of her program.

I have to be totally honest, I was on the verge of shutting SLAM down & donating the raised funds to Michelles school. I mean, after multiple failed attempts to get the board to understand the dire necessity of a program like this, I began to feel hopeless.

Thank God for our passionate board, run by Thomas Krauss, and the exceptional support of Joe Schrank, Dr. Scott Beinenfeld, Julie Michaels, and ALL OF YOU.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mrs. Chan




Age has never really mattered to me, except the last 2 years of high school.
This is when something happened that propelled me overnight from a gawky theater geek with a terrible personality to the most in-demand invitee to every party.
I wish I could say this was due to my charm, intelligence, humor, or even my staggeringly high tolerance for booze.
But it wasn't.
I had a fake I.D.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes



-Julian Baggini

I want to make VERY CLEAR that even though this blog refers to the country singer Leann Rimes numerous times, what you’re about to read has absolutely nothing to do with my personal opinion of her. This is NOT about whether she's guilty or innocent of inciting certain behaviors, nor does it have anything to do with her personal life, conduct, talent, or twitter habits. I’m well aware that people will try to make it about that, but that subject has already been addressed,  relentlessly, by others. I'm not interested.

Instead, I wanted to talk about the behavior I’ve witnessed on twitter that seems to surround Ms. Rimes.  There is an all out, kill-or-be-killed war that’s been brewing for years between Ms. Rimes’ fans and those who...well, aren’t. 

Writing this, I tried to be as objective as humanly possible. Some of my twitter followers adore her. Many of my followers hate her. I honestly don’t give a shit either way. I’m cool with anyone interacting with me as long as they’re respectful of my beliefs. If they are, I’m respectful of theirs.

Frankly, I don’t comprehend the depth of these feelings either way about any celebrity, but recently it's erupted into something much bigger than her.  When it comes to Ms. Rimes...people seem to have forgotten that NOT EVERYONE MUST LIKE THE SAME THING. And, conversely...NOT EVERYONE MUST HATE THE SAME THING.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Lost Souls of Social Media


For most of my life, I looked down on Celebrities who felt the need to splurt the intimate details of their personal lives everywhere. I've always thought it was tacky. As an actor, I believe it's essential to keep a modicum of mystery so you're believable as different characters. Not to mention, it can make you appear desperate for attention.

If you read Guts, or any other part of this blog, you're probably thinking I'm an open book. But let me assure you, this is far from the case. Certainly, I'm now quite happily honest about certain aspects of my life. But I still believe other parts of my life are sacred and therefore, I keep them as private as possible.  For instance: I rarely share specifics of my love life, friendships, family nor have I ever let a magazine photograph my home.

I was raised to keep everything personal private. I was taught to hide, lie, or say "no comment." From a young age I undersood that whatever you present to people is what matters, not how you really feel. (Is it any wonder I became a pill-popping lush?) Therefore, when Social Media first came along, I completely ignored it. I knew next to nothing about it, except I was savvy enough to know that there is no crueler being on earth than a nameless, faceless entinty hidden behind a computer screen. It all sounded so hideous to me...why on earth would anyone open themselves up to the slings and arrows of the bitter and ball-less?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Brilliant Idea (Update: All sketches sold out in 20 mins!)

But please, enjoy this blog ...


The idea hit me a few days ago, out of the blue. 
"Good God, I'm a genius!"

I immediately called my friend, the designer Christian Siriano, who instantly agreed.

(With the idea, that is. Let's just assume he already knows I'm a genius.)
I hope you guys will agree, once you hear my evil plan.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Hate Women


 Oh, alright, that’s not quite true, but you have to admit “I hate most women,” doesn’t have quite the same zing. Of course, I’m excluding the women I’m friends with and the women I’ve yet to meet whom I would be friends with. But let’s be honest: most women are assholes.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it goes without saying that men are assholes, too. But we’ve known that since forever. Ask a man if he’s an asshole and he’ll instantaneously say “yep” then scratch his balls, fart and pass out again. But ask a woman?  Her mouth will fall open and her eyes will well up with tears. Eventually, she’ll stammer “I...I...Of course not! How dare you!” The tears begin to fall “I am a wonderful mother, a terrific wife, a fantastic boss, and a loyal friend. I’m devastated you even asked!” 


Monday, August 4, 2014

One More Tale

I'm so over discussing my past medical woes. Believe me, I can't wait to move on.
But before I do, I knew there was one last part of my tale left to be told, a last chapter, if you will....
The overwhelming reception I've received from people suffering from auto-immune diseases,  have inspired me to share with you a few emails I wrote to a small group of my closest friends & family throughout last fall/winter. 
They are verbatim, with certain names and identifying characteristics removed to protect other people's privacy.
 I'm hoping this can shed even more light on the baffling and chronic disease of Lupus.
While many suffer for years, or remain undiagnosed or improperly treated, I know damn well I'm beyond fortunate to be in remission (for now.)
However, I didn't feel very lucky at the time, as you'll soon see. 

I began feeling terrible in August of last year...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Looking into the Belly of the Beast

Belly of the Beast (definition) - To be in a dangerous place.

This has been an incredibly challenging blog post for me to write. I've gone back and forth for weeks, so torn. I considered not writing it at all, or waiting until much later, but I know I can't truly move on until it's out there. I've only told close friends and family, because I still wasn't certain if I wanted to share it publicly at all.

I decided to do so, because even though it's quite harrowing and painful, very personal and deeply humbling, I honestly believe it may give hope to those who need it...People who don't think they can get through terrible events and stay sober. But mostly, I wrote this for people in recovery from opiates who find themselves in a situation where they must take them.  I want them to know that it's possible - that if care is taken, relapse isn't inevitable.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jenny, I Got Your Number

“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit”
                  -Shakespeare, 12th Night


Perhaps the most gratifying part of becoming an old hag is finally understanding that there’s a yin and yang to almost everything in life.

Yes, even with social media.
The beauty of it is that it gives a voice to so many deserving people.
The ugliness of it is that it also gives the same to so many undeserving.

I’m not proud of the fact that for a great portion of my life, I had a profound mistrust of people. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I even disliked most of them. This is partially due to the “ick” factor that happens when one becomes suddenly famous: There you are, the same idiotic buffoon you always were, and overnight you’ve become the prom queen. 
It’s just kind of gross. So there’s that.
But admittedly, most of my aversion to people I attribute to my chronic, life-threatening addiction, and the horrific depression and self-hatred that accompanied it.

Which is why, pretty much from the age of 25 until I got sober at age 39, I trusted only a tiny group of people I’d known for many years. The rest of the world I would smile politely at, certain they wanted my friendship simply because I happened to be smashed on the head with the famous stick.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Dreamcatcher

I decided to dust off a few other old writings. This one was written on March 10th of this year, my 7 year sobriety date.


Seven years ago today I walked into rehab a shivering, mortified, miserable, drunk & high mess. I went to The Meadows, in Wickenburg, Arizona...a town out of the old west, with cowboys, Indians and old storefronts. It looked like a set from 'High Noon.' 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

STELLA


                 STELLA




The Endless Farts and Tiny Mind of a Darling Disaster

by Kristen Johnston

Within the first 8 months of my sobriety, I lost both of my beloved dogs, Stella & Lulu.  Lulu had been my constant companion for 16 years, Stella for 12.  Lulu was drop-dead gorgeous, flirty, and without question, the smartest animal I’ve ever known. She had glossy, fluffy, black fur, always smelled good (even after a hike), and her two front paws looked like they were dipped in dalmation.  She was remarkable. 
Stella was...well, Stella was none of those things.  She was like the homely sister of a model or a movie star.  She was stout, snorty, stinky and her lower jaw jutted out (all the better to see her hilariously awful teeth).  She was blessed with the remarkable skill of ripping indescribably awful farts seconds before you sat next to her. Her timing was uncanny. 
Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that she had the mental capacity of a stick of wood.
Poor Stella.  
Think Helen Klum,  Jessica Aniston, Candy Theron or Ashley Jolie.  However, instead of being jealous, Stella was oblivious to all the attention Lulu would ineveitably draw from the throngs of admirers on New York City sidewalks. Instead would waddle along; a happy, stupid, kind creature.  They utterly adored each other.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Morgan Asked

My memoir GUTS was released in March of 2012. Before it’s release, my Literary agent convinced me to join twitter & facebook. Eww, blech. Why would I want to read mean crap people thought about me? Besides, what if the book was poorly received? 
She ignored me (as usual) and insisted.

I’m so glad she did.
Because while I most certainly have had my fair share of insults (curiously, often misspelled) and trolls, I’ve also met some truly incredible people who’ve really impacted my life.  Morgan, then only 14 years old, is one of them. 

We met on twitter, and from the start, she asked questions that would take me hours, sometimes days to answer.
I wanted to answer truthfully, but I also knew how important words are to teens, and I didn't want to say the wrong thing.
These are just a few of our exchanges....


Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Last Big Break



When did it happen? That subtle shift? When did addiction evolve from something unspeakable to fun entertainment for the whole family?

Today, when a celebrity begins to emanate that now-familiar whiff of an impending crash-and-burn (hospitalized due to "exhaustion"? A drunken talk show appearance, perhaps?) we all make popcorn and pull up our chairs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Embracing My Inner Bitch


A few months ago, I wrote a guest-blog for someone else's blog. My first entry (and believe me, the one I wish I'd gone with) is below. I tinkered with it and I hope you like it.


Something's been bothering me for a while now, but I haven't mentioned it since it's one of those tricky subjects that could easily make me seem bitter and bitchy.
But then I thought to myself "Well, you are bitter and bitchy about this, why not just own it?"
Yeah, why not?


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Slaying a Different Dragon



Way back in yesteryear, pre-blog, whenever I had something longer than a sentence to share, I had to settle for a reckless overindulgence of twitlonger (as my poor long-time twitter followers will attest.)

A few days ago someone asked me to re-post an interminable twitlonger I once wrote about toxic friends. I can't even believe anyone really read that crap.

 However, since so much has happened since then, I thought I could use this opportunity to expatiate upon this topic even further.  Actually, the thought of expatiating further on any topic gets my rocks off, I dunno why.
Frankly, just typing the word expatiate is a goddamn good time.


For me, kicking my life-long addiction to booze & drugs was pretty much a cinch, at least compared to what came later. What no one at rehab tells you is that once those dragons are slain, all these other villains pop out of their hide-y holes.  


The dragon I still struggle with the most is my hopeless and lifelong addiction to broken people. Or toxic people. Even now, with my shrink’s wise words about establishing boundaries ringing in my ears, I can’t help it. It's not like I seek them out. These scoundrels always manage to worm their way into my life, feigning normalcy...only to eventually whip off their cloak of sanity, revealing their true nature: a nasty-faced combo of manipulation, deceit and fraud.

I’ve guess I've just always had a thing for a good, old-fashioned toxic gal. And man, do they love my ass. A friend recently said "You are a flame to the nutter moths Kjo. It's truly amazing, your gift." Thank God then, that I’ve always managed to combine my toxic friendships with long-term, healthy, sane ones. 

But even way back in high school, "toxicity" equaled "interesting" in my warped mind. 
Yvette made fun of my chicken legs in Gym class? Yvette is divine. 
Cynthia falsely accused me of stealing her gold necklace? No one is cooler than Cynthia. 
And let’s not forget Denise, who told the whole school I’d hit on her. Trust me, in her dreams. (Still, Denise has the best personality.)

What these darlings didn’t know is that the instant they hurt me, betrayed me, made fun of me, insulted me or gossiped about me, they had become my Holy Grail. 
I would not rest until these bitches were my friends.
I’d laugh hysterically at Yvette’s crappy algebra jokes. 
Cynthia worshipped George Michael? That'll be two tickets to a Wham! concert, m’dear! 
Denise was a wee bit harder to woo, since she clearly already thought I was a lesbian, and everyone knows all lesbians want to have sex with every female in eyesight. So I had to be subtle, but I managed.

I cluelessly engaged in different variations of this drama for decades. It was only through incredibly hard work and lots of therapy that it finally dawned on me that this was some twisted shit. I can't begin to describe the euphoria I experienced when I finally realized that I didn't have to live my life at the mercy of someone else's mood swings.  That I can see myself through my eyes, not yours. That I can actually make the choice not to be manipulated by someone.
But nothing, not even a prescription for Opiates with 3 refills can compare to the relief and joy I felt when I finally understood that I have every goddamn right to expect to be treated by people the same way I treat them.
The sky's parted. Angels sang. Holy shit.

Please tell me you guys know what I'm talking about.
Unless you've been raised by completely sane & wonderful parents, you have no insecurities, self-esteem or addiction issues, and have always wisely avoided toxic people?
Well, yay for you, but forgive me...what the fuck are you even doing here? This blog is for the messed up freaks of the world. Not the happy, kind & secure people with wonderful families and safe, fullfilling friendships such as yourself.

Go take a fucking spinning class and catch up with the latest issue of Cooking Light, okay?
This is for the teensity tinesity little fragment of you who understand.


There's that "friend" who always manages to make you feel really bad about yourself.

Or your co-worker who's morning routine includes cornering you in the Ladies room (which is you unenthusiastically go along with simply to placate her and keep her focus off trashing you. 
"Mitzi's such a fucking bitch! Just cus she's our boss...."


"Hmm-hmm" you murmer at  before going with "You know, you look really skinny. Have you lost weight?"




A few weeks later old Mitzi you think she's "a fucking bitch!," but (God help you) you are.
There's always that friend who's so needy and hypersensitive that sending them an email establishing any boundaries for yourself takes weeks to write, trying so hard to be kind and avoid all emotional sand traps. (As if! You're fucked, buddy!)
How about that friend who constantly questions your loyalty, despite the thousands of hours you've spent listening to her daily crises.
Here's a good one...how's about that boyfriend/girlfriend who twists every word you say and then uses it against you, incorrectly, weeks later?
And let's not forget that family member who, instead of saying they miss you, and despite never once calling or emailing you, decides to call you out of the blue and leaves a voice message that's verging on hysteria: "I'm VERY, VERY CONCERNED about you!! Please, call me, I'm very worried about you. I'm just...I don't know WHAT to do." (This awakens in you a terrible, almost irresistible need to immediately call back & verbally tap dance until they believe you haven't relapsed. You don't, but that pull, it is very powerful.)

God, this is fun! I mean, I could go on and on and on and on, but I write this shit for free, so...

Here's the stark, cold truth: No matter what you do, what you say, or how much time and love and care you shower upon them, IT WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER BE ENOUGH.
EVER.

Detoxifying my life has been a long, painful, and difficult process. There've been some devastatingly hurtful confrontations, betrayals so cruel that at times they took my breath away. Not to mention dealing with the residual rage from the toxies I've jettisoned.
I'm ashamed to say I let many relationships go on far longer than I should've, just to avoid the inevitable backlash. One can hardly blame me. I mean, it stands to reason that if someone is that crazy and inappropriate when you are friends,  they won't suddenly become apologetic and benevolent when you're not.

After many years, and far too many lessons, I've finally started figure it out- why I have the hots for the tox, and why they me.
These experiences, combined with therapy and a great deal of research I've done on this little personality quirk of mine have inspired me to pass on some info on the off-chance anyone else out there is screaming "YES! YES! HELP ME LORD YES!"

By the way, according to a Today show survey, 84 percent of women — and 75 percent of
men — said they'd had a toxic friend at some point, with 1 in 3 fessing up to a toxic best friend.

So I know you're out there.

WHAT MAKES SOMEONE TOXIC?

In my non-professional opinion, a person is toxic if they:

Don't respect your boundaries
Complain constantly
Gossip frequently about others
Are manipulative
Project a great deal of anger
Put you down
Are hyper-sensitive
Are jealous
Are bitter
Blame everyone else for their problems
Hate your success
Lie about you to others
Frequently throw sudden fits
Punish you
Ice you out
Try to get too close too soon
Always want something from you
Refuse to accept any fault
Talk negatively about your other friends
Try to harm those friendships
Blow you off/ have no respect for your time

WHAT THE HELL SHOULD I DO?


Alright. I know it may come as a shock some of you, but I'm not actually a Doctor.
However, I'll share with you a few essentials my wonderful shrink Dr. Mary helped me figure out:
If you feel you're in a toxic relationship (whether it be a friend, a mate, or even a friendship on social media), and you you've done everything possible to establish your boundaries, express your feelings, and taken ownership for your part in creating this dynamic...yet you know your life would be better without them? 
You have to end it.
I know, it sucks. But you do.
(I'm still working on this, God it's so hard)

Because LIFE IS TOO GODDAMN SHORT. Get out as soon as you can. Eliminate them from your life and move the fuck on.
"The reason it's hard to dump a toxic friend is the same reason people stay in all kinds of dysfunctional relationships," says Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital "There's something in it that you find compelling or familiar. Depending on the nature of what's going on in the relationship, you may feel guilty [about breaking things off]. Or it could be that the person has implied you need them in some way, or vice versa — that you would be a bad person to walk away."
Do it anyway. The relief you feel will astonish you. 

But if, for whatever reason, you can't remove yourself from the relationship?
STOP taking their dramas seriously
STOP pretending their toxic behavior isn't happening
DON'T take their behavior personally
SPEAK up for yourself.

But I still say cut 'em loose. And never look back.

THE AFTERMATH

For me, this was (and is) the worst part. Because a few ex-toxies refused to comprehend why I wouldn't simply accept their constant apologies and let them in my life again. For years they spewed their rage about me to anyone who wold listen. (Which only made me exceedingly glad I didn't give them another chance.)

But deep inside I wondered if maybe they were right. Maybe I really was some hideous, unforgiving, narcissistic monster. That is, until I read this blog in Huff Post written by Nancy Colier, a psychotherapist. She captures how I feel perfectly. I was going to share a paragraph with you, but it's so powerful I had to toss the whole damn thing in.

"We all have people in our lives who have profoundly harmed us. Sometimes the situation with the other person has changed. You may have forgiven them and they may even have taken ownership and expressed remorse for their harmful actions. Other times, the same harmful behavior goes on with no change or responsibility. To your reptilian brain however, it often doesn't matter which of these scenarios is true. With trauma, the body's memory of a harmful person can remain frozen at the time of the trauma. This is not a blog on trauma, however.

Rather, it is about our expectation of what we are supposed to do with the people who make us feel toxic. Many people believe that in order to be "spiritual" they need to: Be able to open their heart to the people who have done them harm, and no longer experience a negative reaction in their company.
 
I am often asked, "What is wrong with me that I can't feel open, loving and calm in this person's presence?" "Isn't being spiritual about being able to love the person who hurt me?" "Isn't forgiveness the essence of spirituality?" 
Firstly, the body's reaction to someone who has harmed you is simply that: the body's reaction, something that happens. You don't choose it. It is not an indicator of your spiritual maturity, nor a gauge of your growth in life or in relationship to the trauma. In many cases, no amount of psychological or spiritual work will change your body's chemical response to the person who inflicted harm; it is hard-wired into your biology, an aspect of survival.
So the first thing to take off your plate is the idea that you "should" be able to feel good in their company. Any notion that a negative physical response makes you un-spiritual or un-evolved is, quite simply, hogwash.
  
Secondly, being able to "open your heart" to someone who has caused you tremendous pain is not a test of your spirituality. Many people deliberately put themselves in company with family and "friends" who are profoundly painful for them to be with, in an effort to develop forgiveness or compassion and because they feel they "should." 
Yet, if your heart is not open, and the desire to be with this other is not emanating from a place of true compassion, it does you no spiritual good to do what you "should." 
The choice to exclude a person or experience from your life can be the more compassionate choice -- for yourself. And indeed, when your heart opens to your own suffering, and your own well-being, that compassion for yourself can open wide enough to include even the one who caused you suffering. But this is something that your heart will tell you -- not something that your mind can decide or force. 
Spirituality is not a test. Being spiritual is about being with what is. If you feel toxic when in the company of someone who has hurt you, then you earn no spiritual points by forcing yourself to endure that toxicity. 
Deciding to not be with someone who makes you feel terrible, even if that person is your family or "friend," is an act of courage -- honoring yourself and the truth. 
Trust your heart; if it is ready to embrace someone who has harmed you, it will open, without force. Indeed, by giving yourself permission to say "no," to follow your truth, you are offering yourself the only real chance to genuinely want to be with them, at some time. 
Without permission to say "no," we cannot find the authentic desire to say "yes." And if that desire never comes, that too is as spiritual a path as any other. 
Spirituality is not about becoming the person that you are supposed to be. 
To be spiritual is to compassionately welcome your truth -- what you actually feel -- whether you like that truth or not. 
To be spiritual is to stop trying to be a more spiritual and open-hearted version of yourself, and instead, to open your heart without judgment to who and how you actually are. Perhaps the hardest task of all, being spiritual is about letting yourself -- and what is so -- be."

It's called taking care of yourself.


A novel concept, I know.
But we only have one precious life.        
Why waste it on ?


Besides, we've slayed other dragons before.

What's one more?




UPDATE 3.11.15

"Well. So much for this immature idiot." you think smugly "Not only do I hate Monty Python,  I haven't had a toxic friendship since kindergarten. My toxic relationship just happens to be with someone legitimate, my mother." 

"But I suppose Ms. Smartypants Smartass is too busy giggling at Benny Hill and getting mad at her little friends to understand that."

Actually, Herr Humorless McGrumps, it just so happens that I do.
Out of respect to others, I can't share with you specifics. However, Let's just say toxic people were the norm for me for my entire childhood, and about a decade ago I cut off ties with a family member I deeply loved.
It is, without question the most sickening, unthinkableunimaginableinconceivableabsurd, baffling and heretical choices anyone can ever make

But if you've exhausted every other viable option, and you know this relationship is costing you your sanity, sobriety, and happiness? 
If you know deep inside it's either them or you?

Well, you have no other option, do you?

I'm not much of a reader of self-help books. 
, but of all the quality websites and books I've read over the years, one has impacted my life like no other. It's called daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com, by an Irish gal named Danu Morrigan. While it's obviously focused on toxic mother-daughter dynamics, I've found it's applicable to many familial relationships. I've passed it on to countless people over the years, and I'm happy to say it's meant just as much to them as it has me.

I  find myself returning to it again & agai and I hope you give it a look-see, whether you have issues with your mother or not.

I wanted to share a few pearls of wisdom from the site, which I've edited slightly for times sake. 
(Feel free to insert father/son/grandpa/daughter/sister/brother/etc, as it applies to you)...

"The heritage of being a Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother is often referred to as the gift that keeps on giving:

We feel we cannot be our authentic true selves. 
We suffer from low self-esteem, often to the level of self-loathing, and we struggle with self-care.
We almost certainly cannot love ourselves, as evidenced by our negative self-talk. 
We may believe we have no right to exist, and almost certainly feel that we're never good enough, that we're not acceptable, that at some deep down level we're inherently flawed.
We have difficulty saying nice things about ourselves, or celebrating our successes.
We are either forever self-sabotaging, or burdened with impossible perfectionism.
We're accustomed to our successes being dismissed, and our tragedies being used as drama-queen fodder.
We struggle to own our own power.
After years of being told we're too sensitive...by now we probably are. 
We have difficulty setting boundaries.
We're overly fearful of authority figures, or of people being angry with us.
We may have body issues - either being overweight, or absolutely terrified of gaining weight. 
We're still afraid of them, no matter our age or how assertive or powerful we are in other parts of our lives.
We're attracted to unhealthy and abusive relationships. 
We have a constant fear of abandonment, and huge trust issues.
We still crave their approval & attention.  
We carry a constant feeling that the world isn't safe. 
Deep down we feel that we don't deserve good things, good relationships.
We even feel we don't deserve to heal."

But we have to love this person. THEY'RE FAMILY. Right?

"I'm not saying that wonderful mothers don't exist. Of course they do. But they're not the whole story. This hidden insistence that all mothers are angels means that, as well as all the direct problems of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, we have the burden of secrecy and lack of recognition. Society's mantra of the perfect mother is another form of gaslighting, in my opinion. Not only is our own mother telling us that she's a perfect mother and any thoughts otherwise are due to our craziness, but society is saying the same thing! 
This makes being the daughter of a narcissistic mother a very lonely path. We can't share our frustration and fear and hurt and bewilderment even with our closest friends. Not because they're uncaring, but because they just don't understand. "I know," they might sigh sympathetically, "my mother's very annoying too."
And you long to have the words to explain to them that this is so beyond mere 'annoying' that it's in a different world."

According to the site, if you have a deeply toxic relationship with a family member, you have three options:
  1. See them as usual. Just give up any hope of ever having a normal relationship with them. Try to be amused by their behaviour rather than frustrated. Don't play their games. Begin setting boundaries.
  1.  Low Contact. Severely limit the amount of time you spend with them. Make contact be on your terms. They may argue, or try to get over this - turning up uninvited etc, but you'll need to be firm. 
  1. No Contact, which is self-explanatory. This is a huge step, albeit very worthwhile, and I very much encourage you to read this section.
Read more: http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/how-to-deal-with-a-narcissist.html#ixzz3UDF5lLJl
If any of the above sounds familiar, check out the site. It's pretty great.

Love
KJo






























Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Becoming Perfect




I lived most of my life as a liar.
From birth, I was taught that other people's realities took precedent over my own, and I that must do whatever I could to be exactly whom others wished me to be.

I was told that this would make them happy, which would then, in turn, make me happy.
I could never understand why I consistently failed at both, in such monumental ways.
It wasn't for lack of effort.

Never once did it occur to me that perhaps who I am is perfect.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!


The instant one becomes a "celebrity" they are given a bounty of extraordinary gifts, dazzling rewards and incredible riches. In return, there's just one little rule they must abide by:  They must never, ever complain again.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Reality of Oprah


The lovely Sharon Smolarz O'Hara asked me this question on Face Book:
"Wondering if you think Oprah's intentions for Lindsay was to help her? Or help others to see what Lindsay went through post rehab? Or help herself?"



Honestly? Don't get me started on Oprah. I haven't seen the Lindsay show, but since OWN offered her a reality show before she even left her umpteenth rehab, and because OWN is desperate for ratings, I can't help but question their intentions. 
All under the guise of “helping an addict get her life together.”
Yeah, right.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Hole


Thank you so much, Sir Fagsy Malone (above) for helping me design this blog-type thingamawhatsit.


We'll see how it goes, 
I'm a fucking addict, whaddaya want? Just cus I've been sober eight years doesn't mean I've suddenly become reliable. Or responsible. Or on time. Or a computer expert. 

At any rate, I really wanted this to be as interactive as possible, so it's not just me babbling to myself (although God help me I enjoy that too). I really hope you're inspired to comment or ask questions about anything you wish.


Contrary to rumors, I actually appreciate opinions that differ from mine, as long as they're expressed in a constructive, respectful manner.

Example: "I disagree, Kristen. I believe the more secrecy the better for addicts."
As opposed to:"Enjoy your relapse, bitch!" (An actual comment screamed into my face after the screening of a documentary I was in by one of my lovely comrades in recovery.)

Hey, not my idea of a happy recovery, but tomato, tomahto.
Sounds like someone has a hole.
Jesus. 
Not that kind, ya pervs. This kind....