Difficult Times

We got home from our trip last night, and it feels good to be back. Good and sad really, as my father-in-law passed away while we were in California visiting. I am not going to lie- it was really, really hard in so many ways, but especially handling the grief that surrounded me. I was/am sad, as my father-in-law was a wonderful, accomplished, loving man, but I ended up feeling really stressed out by the experience. I am still getting to know my husband’s family in a lot of ways. Most of our relationship has taken place many miles from both of our families, and we got pregnant/bought a house/got married in that order, all in a short amount of time.  I think I am still processing how I handled being there for my husband and his family, what I wish I had done differently, and what I will try to do in difficult future situations. Oh, life. You can be so tricky to navigate sometimes.

We had a long day of travel yesterday getting back home (two plane rides and two long car rides), and I made the decision that I was going to stop to buy beer and cigarettes on the way home. I decided this after our car acted like it wasn’t going to start in the long-term parking lot prior to our two-hour car ride home. Not that this was the worst or hardest part of the week, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I didn’t have a hard time staying away from alcohol during the trip, but the craving REALLY hit me hard in that hot parking lot, with the anxiety and tears building up inside. My brother-in-law magically started the car and we headed home, and I told my husband and brother-in-law that I was going to have a beer later. I felt desperate, like I NEEDED something to take the edge off. I told myself it would be just this one time. I would get drunk, smoke as many cigarettes as I wanted, and start over being sober again the following day. Everyone slips, right? Oh, the twisted thought process that went through my head during this time.

Well, I didn’t do it. I knew that I would feel awful in a myriad of ways if I were to say yes to my HORRIBLE junkie voice. Once we got going in the car and the baby fell asleep in his car seat, I closed my eyes and prayed for help to keep me from drinking and to help me feel NORMAL again. If not normal, then at least as strong as I felt before. So… yes, I pray sometimes. I am not really very religious, but prayer seems to help me when I am feeling really bad. I first noticed the positive effects in college and have done it regularly since then. I guess my prayers worked this time because the need that I was feeling, the desperate, empty, unexplainable hole, seemed to diminish. It closed enough that I was able to tell myself that I would drink another day. Tomorrow, next week, some other time, but not that night. I still felt really shaky about my sobriety- I was holding on by a thread- but I held onto that thread with all the power I could muster. I went home and ordered pizza, even got grouchy with my poor, sweet husband, but went to bed sober.

I am still feeling mentally and physically exhausted from everything that I’ve been through recently, so I plan to exercise some serious self-care over the next few days. I am going to relax around the house in comfy clothes, eat ice cream, watch movies, write here and in my journal, read something good, call friends and family that I have been neglecting, play with my sweet baby, and go for walks. I need to get back to feeling safe. Difficult times without a crutch are just that- difficult. I am a master of escaping from my emotions, and I can’t do that anymore. I think that for me, a true introverted soul, routine and safety are so important. I need to work on a plan for difficult times when I do not have my routine, my home, my familiar surroundings. I read a lot of blogs while I was gone but didn’t have the energy to write… maybe that would have helped.

Anyway, it is good to be back. Thank you for stopping by.

6 thoughts on “Difficult Times

  1. I am very sorry to hear about your father-in-law. He sounded like a wonderful man.

    On the flip side, I am very happy to hear that you didn’t drink. And what made me happy to hear was that you prayed upon it, then the feeling went away. You don’t have to be a Charlie Church to use prayer. I am not religious in any way, shape or form. But I prayed a whole shitload when I was early in recovery! And I pray daily now, but in a different way. (It’s funny I read this now, having gotten off the phone with a guy I work with and we just spoke about prayer for about 15 minutes). For me, its not about petitioning per se (but I did a lot of that at the beginning!), but to say “I ain’t big enough to take this on – you handle it” kind of thing. A check in, if you will. Remind myself that I am not whole enchilada. And it helps to center me. And for what it did for you – I am not even surprised 🙂

    Of course prayer isn’t all of it, but man, it helps, and in this case, it was the difference between you writing this post and you writing a completely different post…if you had written at all. I am an introvert too, but knowing I have my prayers with me, feeling that connection – it doesn’t matter where I am, I know that I will have some comfort in that.

    Wonderful post, bittersweet. My condolences.

    Blessings to you and your family, extended.


    • Thanks for the comment, Paul. I don’t think I would be here at all without prayer, honestly. I used it a lot during the months before I quit to help me gain the motivation to quit in the first place. It is a powerful thing! Not enough by itself, but a tool that I need because it is always available. Those urges are so strong and scary though when they do hit. I am recommitting myself to staying sober no matter what. Thank you for the support! Hope you are well. -Jen

  2. Hi Jen,

    My condolences on the death of your father in law. That’s hard to cope with no matter what, and trying to negotiate supporting a partner in family crises is hard stuff. I’m sorry you had such a tough time. But I think it’s fantastic that you managed to get through it and not drink! Well done you for that. Renewing your commitment to being sober sounds like a great decision, and so does taking good care of yourself over the next while. Stay strong, and yes, pray for help. We need all the help we can get here. I hope you have some good restorative time ahead.

    • Aww, thank you for the nice comment. I had no idea that it would be so tough, but I feel wiser now and will be better prepared in the future (if that is even possible). I feel pretty humbled by the experience. Have a nice day/night and thanks for reading- it means a lot!

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