It can be difficult, once we are sober, to find our own voices again. We can become so awash in shame and so mired in regret that we allow ourselves to take blame for things that simply cannot be left at our feet alone. We lose our voices because we are sure that the whole world is mad at us, and that the whole world deserves to be mad at us.
No matter how huge our shame or guilt or regret, at some point we need to find that little bit of love and compassion that we would offer others, and offer it to ourselves. We are *worthy* of love and compassion, as Brene’ Brown says so well. We deserve to be heard and forgiven and loved and cherished, faults and all.
There is an important distinction between I DID something bad and I AM bad. Our mistakes do not define us unless we let them. I had *such* a hard time with facing the world after I got that DUI. I know a lot of folks will read that and think, “Good!” Well, yes and no.
At some point, we have to finish bashing ourselves over the head for our pasts. The past is over. We need to learn to do better. When my eldest was a newborn, I heard a quote that has stuck with me to this day. Maya Angelou said,
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
That one sentence softened the edges of my panicky new-mom status when I thought I must be doing everything wrong. And it still works when we apply it to our history with alcohol.In our newly forged sobriety, so minty and shiny and egg-shell fragile, we are learning something new every day. We are learning why we did what we did. We are discovering what places of anger and hurt and bewilderment exist within us. We are forging new paths to healthy relationships and healthy self-esteem. We are learning and relearning and learning some more. And with all that study comes new knowledge about how to NOT make the same mistakes again.
At some point, continuing to beat ourselves up about the past has a debilitating effect. We can break ourselves down so far that we have no reason not to drink anymore. With no self-esteem, we have no self-awareness and no self control.
I’m a homemaker, a homeschooler, a mom, and I got a DUI. I am doing everything I can to build a stronger relationship to my own feelings, so that I am not mired in them and am not tempted to drink over them. I am learning that if I don’t exist with my feelings, they can overtake me, and the results can be tragic. I am learning that while what I did was horrible, *I* am not horrible. It is okay for me to ask for forgiveness. And, even more important, it is ok for me to accept it.
No DUI is ever ok, but we can get through the experience and heal ourselves and help to heal the people around us. We can even seek out new people to help, new challenges and situations where our first-hand knowledge of alcohol use disorders and of dealing with the court system and living through it can assist others to get better, too.
Drinking, and the concomitant inability to be properly self-aware, can lead us to many places we wish we’d never been. Whether you’ve woken up next to someone you hadn’t intended to spend the night with, or driven while intoxicated, or drunk texted your ex-husband at 3a.m., or bought $150 set of salt and pepper shakers on Amazon, you deserve to be forgiven. You deserve compassion. (And you deserve to see if those shakers are returnable.)
I hope you can learn to be gentle and forgiving with yourself. Mistakes are part of life. They are hard things, but, as Glennon Doyle Melton reminds us, we can DO hard things.
On to other stuff!
It’s been GORGEOUS here. 75 or warmer with some bits of rain for the gardens and to keep the fire potential down. Lovely hammock days, and I’ve sworn off baking until the next three-day rain, so store-bought bread it is!
I’ve been making lots of popsicles of all different flavors again this summer, and we’d been sticking with lemonade or strawberry creamsicle for a while.
I decided to branch out a bit. I made a batch of what sounded like a great idea: Peanut butter and banana cheesecake-ish pops. Some had a few chocolate chips inside. One even had mini-marshmallows.
The kids hated them. First of all, they wouldn’t come out of the popsicle sleeves, and then I guess peanut butter and banana isn’t everyone’s thing. (My 16yo still ate 4 of them over the course of 2 days.)
See? When we know better, we do better! Strawberry it is!
I got out my sewing machine today and hemmed up two dresses I bought months ago but never wore because…I’m pretty short. And then I sewed up a dress-up dress for Little One and now I’m committed to fixing a pair of fancy-pants work pants for the Spouse. I forgot how much I love sewing. Deep in my addiction, none of this would have mattered to me. I’d have been too busy drinking and thinking about drinking to worry about hems and dress-up dresses.
Little One got to sit on my lap and “run” some extra fabric through the machine. She thought that was pretty cool.
As Little One says, my fingers are dancing and they’re getting tired.
Have a glorious weekend and keep kicking addiction’s ass!