I haven’t been too keen on writing lately, and I have been having some wicked drinking dreams. These things might not seem related, but I know that they are. The dreams are coming up because I haven’t been taking good care of myself. I have felt tired when thinking about blogging here, and tired when thinking about the new site that I want to use for non-recovery related writings that I have not yet started. I am a jumbly, bumbling, grouchy, cross person when I don’t practice self-care. This needs to change, as I need a decent amount of alone time to feel like myself. My little family’s travels are over for the summer, additional family has visited and left, and now I have the space to take some alone time. All is well. The road to relapse is slippery, but I know what needs to be done from here to get back on sure footing.

I have been reflecting a lot on life in general lately, and the future, and the past. One year ago I was a total mess, on the inside for sure, and maybe on the outside a bit, too. Maybe that’s a huge understatement but it sure is hard to see yourself clearly when you are drinking every evening, and the past is gone forever, so all I have is memory and other people’s versions of the truth. I know that I was wearing yoga pants a lot and I was constantly freaking out that I wasn’t doing a good job at being a mother. The guilt and shame of parenting is amazing. I didn’t think it would happen to me- the guilt and fear that I was doing everything wrong and damaging my child at every turn- but it did. Parenting is a truly humbling experience, as is battling an addiction. Both are right up there in the category ‘life experiences that will change you forever’.

This year is different. The guilt, shame and fear has receded into memory-land, at least for the most part. I sometimes worry about my son, but I have a deeper sense that things are okay, and that I am mainly doing things right for him. I realize that everything about who he is and how he turns out is not my responsibility. Drinking is also a memory now. Some are good memories, but a lot are bad ones that hold the power to make me cringe when I think of them. They aren’t so present anymore, even though I can see them with a kind of clarity that only comes with time. They are wispy things, and for that I am grateful. I hold tight to them because they remind me that I never, ever want to go back to the dark place where I was living. No thank you very much.

On the other hand, I am not sure that my pink cloud of love for everything mundane and normal is going to last forever. Look at me! Living in my own house! Gardening! Eating a dinner with fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market! Paying my bills on time every month! Buying gifts and cards for people in a timely and appropriate fashion! Being normal!!!!

I know that not all of you relate to this sentiment, as your lives stayed more ‘normal’ during your drinking days, but mine was really up and down while I was drinking. I never quite had it all together, even though I tried reeeallly hard. It seems like I was always juggling everything and dropping balls, picking them back up only to drop another one. I was really proud of the balls I managed to keep in the air, though!

I can’t predict the future. I don’t know if ‘normal’ is going to be exciting enough for me forever. It is for right now, and I can keep building my life in the meantime, finding new and different things that I love to fill me up from the inside. Thank you all for following along and offering support to me over the past 11 1/2 months. It is so wonderful to know that this space is here for me when I need to work some stuff out. I follow many of your blogs and reading your stories helps a lot, too. Keep doing your thing.


15 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Hey Jen 11 1/2 months – wow, almost a year! πŸ™‚ If it’s any comfort I feel the same way a lot of the time and as for the parenting stuff as they grow you grow and new stuff comes up with each stage so you feel like it is changing all the time. That’ll keep you busy – well it does me anyway!! xx

  2. I wonder about that too – the ‘will I get used to the normal stuff being normal’?

    for me I think a lot of what is keeping me on the sober path is paying more attention to the normal stuff. noticing it and being grateful for it. and the more I practice that, the more I see. so I hope that it will continue to be surprising!

    and as Lucy says life and parenting never stands still in any case! xx

    • Yes, I am so grateful for it, too. I feel that all the time. Maybe I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it won’t because there isn’t really another shoe…it’s just an old way of thinking that isn’t helpful anymore. I think it will continue to be surprising and wonderful and great intermixed with not so great stuff. Just life stuff. Thanks Primrose!

  3. I could go on and on about parenting … I frequently do!… I can relate to a lot of what you say here. I can get so hung up on it sometimes, thinking that I am doing everything “wrong” that I am somehow damaging my children by not being a good enough mother, when in reality, the best thing in the world that I could do would just be to lighten up a little. Because as you say, it’s not *all* about me – it’s about them – and as they get bigger, I can see them finding their own way and making their own mistakes. Hopefully I can just be here for them, and love them, and let them know it’s OK to get things wrong, and be here to pick up the pieces when I need to. And they are so lucky to have the love and support of others in their lives too, their dad and our friends and family. No-one can raise a child alone. Oh, look. I’ve gone on again. Wind me up and watch me go πŸ˜‰ Sorry.
    What I wanted to say, was yes, I love the normal stuff too! Lots of calm being on top of things. Love it.
    Congrats on 11 1/2 months πŸ™‚ Hope you get your quiet time alone… so important. xxx

    • Thank you, thank you. I am making time for being alone starting today. I get weird without it!! Thanks for the parenting stuff, too… it’s nice to know I’m not alone their either! xo

  4. I think you’re at exactly where you need to be. Twee thought perhaps, but I know what you speak of. That feeling of the other shoe dropping. I mean, there we are living a “normal”-ish existence. So there’s going to be something BAD happening soon, right? They are going to pull back the curtain and see the real wizard – just smoke and machines, eh?

    But as I move through this recovery, i see that it doesn’t happen like that. I too pay my bills now. I cook proper meals. I put out the garbage. The kids and wife are happy. I am present. So that’s about it. End of story. Sure, the pink cloud doesn’t last forever, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We just move into a new place. You’re a great mom, and things are going well. I too didn’t have it all going on. I was struggling just to look somewhat normal, but I was a wreck. So for me to be in charge of money and things like that – scandalous! lol.

    Anyway, early congrats on a year. You’ve done fantastic.


  5. We journeyed side by side this year. I feel like your “cyber mom” and would reach out and give you a great big hug. You’re doing great, Jen! Life is hard, even the mundane parts are not easy, and parenting, well, my daughter is 32 and my son, 30 and parenting never stops, it gets a little easier but it’s a job for life, we do the best we can. We do it better sober that’s for sure. Take that private time for self care, it’s really important and so wise of you to see that.

  6. Oh girl…my life was so out of control at the end of my drinking so little things like birthday cards in the mail on time and bills paid were HUGE wins after I got sober. I so get this.

    You have such a healthy view on parenting. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done but also the best. I’m so glad that I”ve learned that doing it sober works much better – even though they’re in college now.

    Normal is the new exciting! Haven’t you heard? I don’t know how to be normal so every day is a new and interesting adventure. LOL.


  7. Congrats on 11.5 months, I am at 21 months myself and can tell you after you pass that 1 year mark – you think about it less. It almost became a battle of will to get to that 1 year mark, and it came and went – and now I am coasting towards year #2. Never taking my eye off the ball, mind you – but it is easier and I don’t feel so trapped up in my head anymore. You’re doing great, time is the great eraser.

  8. During my first marriage (when I used to drink all the time) I never really thought about my rating as a father. Then when I stopped drinking I was extremely hard on myself. I just didn’t think I was there enough for him, and always seemed to choose drink instead of fun times with my son.

    When I got divorced my ability as a father was really under the microscope (both my ex wife was wielding it as was I). I struggled for a lot during my early time in sobriety. I always thought I was a bad Dad, and also worried about him drinking when he was older, and I felt I didn’t have control because I no longer lived with him.

    These days I am chilled about it.

    I know I am a brilliant Dad, but most of all I am a good role model. My son may go on to have a brilliant drinking, drugging and smoking career, but it won’t be because he picked up those habits from me.

    That’s all I can do, and all you can do.

    Be the person you want your child to be.

    Keep up the good work


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