Reflections

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.

 

A Slow Attitude Adjustment and The Spaces Between

I am thinking recovery is kind of like one long, slow attitude adjustment. I started out feeling really scared, hesitant, angry, and generally crappy about getting sober. I had backed myself into a corner. I HAD to do it or else the consequences would most likely be dire. That’s not the nicest place to be, as many of you know.

Over time my attitude has slowly gotten better, and I know that it will continue to improve the longer I stay sober AND work on my recovery. Being sober does wonders, but I have to keep making adjustments in order to truly be happy with my new life. I can’t force it to happen, though. It takes time, and that requires a shit ton of patience on my part. For example, one day I hope to be more social again. I HEAR that it is possible to go out and be sober, but I am just not ready yet. I have to listen to that voice of reason, as doing so has helped keep me sober for this long. It ain’t wrong, and it will tell me when I am truly ready to do certain things. Attitude is key to feeling happy and not deprived. By most accounts, as long as I work hard and STAY SOBER, it will only take a few years max to feel totally normal (or happy sober, I suppose…normal is kind of a dumb concept). A mere drop in the bucket!

In the meantime, I am focusing on the spaces between the hard times. It is getting easier, and the spaces are growing longer. Instead of focusing on the shit, I am trying to focus on the happy, fun sober times in between the bad times. The longer I stay sober and continue to work on my recovery, the bigger the spaces are.

See? It is all just a big attitude adjustment. 🙂

Heavy Thoughts Are Okay Today…

My thoughts have been pretty heavy, which is why I haven’t been writing as often lately. Sometimes it is just too much to process, and I would rather sit on it for awhile. Lately I have been thinking more about family, codependency, and my past. I have also been having some sneaky drinking thoughts. While some people have nice, tidy thoughts about having a glass of wine, my thoughts tend to run more towards wanting to get totally shitfaced wasted. So…at least I definitely know that they are wolfie talking. They are easy to spot and say NO to. I am not sure what is prompting them, but they are much weaker than they used to be, which is something at least. More annoying than anything else. Shut the ‘F’ up, wolfie. Geez, get the hint. I don’t do that anymore!

I have been reading ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie. Through this journey into recovery I have realized that some of my attachments to family members are a big ‘ole mess. Actually, their attachments to one another are a little bizarre, too, so we are all a big mess. It is what happens when you are raised in a household with an active alcoholic. One big, happy family filled with people trying to figure things out, and often finding the answers in a bottle of booze.

I have become less codependent than I used to be, as I used to be kind of crazy in personal relationships, especially those of a romantic nature. I was jealous and suspicious, and I would totally lose myself in a relationship. I aimed to please, which didn’t end up pleasing ANYONE at all. So, I went through romantic relationships as a serial monogamist. Those relationships were filled with drama disguised as fun, drinking, concerns about my drinking, fighting, and then a big break up, often followed by no contact in the future. Sometimes I would even move away. Eventually, I would meet a new man who thought I was SO fun, and start the pattern all over again. I gradually gained a better sense of self in my late 20’s and early 30’s, and my personal relationships are much better now. Lucky for my husband, right?! There are still remnants of those messes to clean up, though. Mainly in my mind, as those dudes are LONG GONE, thank God.

I have realized that I behave in a codependent way towards certain family members, and that it is holding me back. For me, this looks like worrying too much about their lives, to the point where it keeps me up at night because it is all I can think about. I am trying to detach from worry and place the focus on to MY life. It is working out OK, but it is a constant battle to detach. I am plagued with the ‘shoulds’. I should give them a call. Write an email. Send a gift. DO SOMETHING. Blah, blah, blah. I have to shut that voice off a lot.

Recovery feels like a lot of work sometimes! It is worth it, though, because I feel really good a lot of the time. I genuinely like being sober. In between sorting out these big, heavy issues, I enjoy most of my life. I was thinking today about how anxious I used to be to go to the grocery store. I mean, crippling anxiety…and I don’t have that anymore! That’s pretty dang cool. So, I shall continue to keep going living my sober life, tell wolfie to leave me alone whenever he pops his stupid head up, and sort out the shit that is holding me back. No problem, right?