Thank you to everyone who has left me notes and emails asking if I’m ok.
I’m hanging in there. Some days right now are just very, very hard. Not hard in the, “I want a vodka and lemonade, NOW,” sense…but emotionally draining. I feel defeated and broken because of the harm caused by my addiction.
On the other hand, I am staying active in AAA, going to group meetings once a week for folks who “graduated” the 12-week IOP I attended, and in general taking care of my recovery.
My family is all experiencing such a transition. I’m moving in new and positive directions. I’m more involved, more open, more of a challenge to the kids because I have expectations of our family and, being sober and present, I maintain those expectations and expect them to do the same. There was a lot of lax parenting when I was in my addiction, and they’re readjusting to having a very engaged mom.
I’m also being more open and…well, demanding, about my own needs. I NEED quiet time after they go to bed. I NEED exercise. I NEED time with my friends one-on-one. This last is a challenge for them because in times past all my time with other parents has been with kids in tow: Playdates, classes, lessons, the gym. Now I head out and they don’t get to come with me and it’s a new experience for them. I recently realized that I almost always have spoken on the phone with friends in the presence of my (very nosy) kids. I’ve never gone in the bedroom and shut the door, or asked for privacy. I do those things now.
My 13yo son, the one who is so very angry, and I had a great conversation. We scheduled a time and the spouse took the other kids to different parts of the house and kept them (mostly) busy. So 13yo and I could get real.
It was incredibly difficult. We were both in tears. He was honest and he was heartbreaking and he was so brave. I let him know that his feelings are completely ok. I let him know that I understand his emotional rollercoaster, and I’ll be here when he wants to talk again. I let him know I’m so sorry.
When he went to bed that night, he told me he loved me without prompting. I waited ’til he went downstairs to cry like a baby—serious ugly crying. He had to come back up for something and was shocked to see me in floods of tears. He asked me why I was crying: I told him I was so full of regrets. I think he learned a great deal about me in that minute. I hadn’t wanted him to see me break down, but maybe it was a good thing that he did.
I’m still secretary and chair of two out of our three AAA meetings every week. I keep trying to find replacements. Sometimes I do, sometimes I can’t. I hate to leave the group high and dry, but soon I’m going to have to bow out for the sake of my Sunday time with family.
I do love our AAA group, though. We provide a safe place for *anyone* of any faith or no faith to come and get sober and stay sober with a bunch of nonjudgmental folks. I couldn’t have made it this far were it not for the existence of a non-religious group. Or at least, it would have been a lot tougher, I think.
Today is 5 months. 🙂
Our homeschool year is officially back in full swing. It’s going really well so far, with excellent results and fun projects and some new subjects. The 11yo and I are both learning to knit using a WikiHow and a ton of books. I’ve been trying off and on for years to learn, but the minute I’m out of sight of the person teaching me, I forget everything they said. It’s really pretty sad. :p My 11 yo, however, is picking it up fast. I’m also teaching her to crochet, which, after the first chain, is pretty much a self-teaching activity. (Maybe knitting is, too. I haven’t gotten that far!)
I’ve been listening to comedy on Amazon Prime (they’re stand-ups, but I listen mostly, not watch) while I work on different projects. I made a jingly ball for the 1yo granddaughter, some homemade cards for all 3 of the grandkids, a family of wooden and felt people for Little One, and on and on. I’m still working on the 22yo’s birthday gift…and I think I’ve come up with a brilliant way to make a horcrux be part of the whole Harry Potter themed artwork set. It should be pretty neat when I’m done.
Some of the goofy stuff I’m working on:
It’s time to start thinking about culling parts of the garden, and I don’t want to. It’s been so rainy and humid here…and chilly for August. I’m hoping, hoping, hoping for some more 70F days before the leaves fall! It’s getting dark at night now, which is a huge change for everyone each year. Our bodies go back to diurnal mode, instead of wanting to be up with the sun for 20+ hours per day.
In response to the need to think about the end of the gardening season, I’ve made Little One an indoor fairy garden, complete with aloe and other succulents as “trees.” It’s a LOT of fun.
I’ve sort of slacked on my meditation practice, and I’m noticing the effects. I need to get back into it…but I keep getting sucked into one more art or craft project instead of being still. 😉
The calorie-counting app I’m using (called Lose It) is helping tons. I’ve lost 14 pounds since August 1! I’m drinking tons of lemon water and eating a lot more fruit than I used to. (I’m allergic to a bunch of fruits and veggies, so that often keeps me away from even eating the ones I’m not allergic to. Not any longer, though!) I’m also hitting the gym about 4 times a week. Not a huge workout, just a stationary bike and some weights. When I was younger I weightlifted every day. It feels great to get back into something that feels so familiar.
My 16 year old son asked me today if I ever miss drinking. I told him honestly that, right now, I don’t. But the question reminded me of something I read on another recovery blog (I can’t remember which, I’m so sorry!). The blogger was talking about that, “aaah,” feeling that comes with the first drink.
I remember that so well. I get this image of feet up, or rocking in the hammock, with a good mystery in one hand and a vodka/lemonade in the other. In my memory, things are calm, sunny, contained. In my memory I’m not *drinking,* I’m *relaxing.* Memories are tricksters.
There was a time, so many years ago, when I could drink to relax. And enjoy that relaxation. But I often overstepped that infinitesimal boundary between relaxing and getting drunk. I did it more and more as the years went on, even when I had months or years of not drinking behind me.
Mind you, until December of 2016, I never actively sought out a program of recovery. I’d tried to get and stay sober, but never with the idea of abstinence as a way of life for GOOD.
Even when I knew my drinking was out of control, I could still enjoy those “ahh” moments. Until I was drinking to maintain…drinking like it was medicine and I would die without it.
Those vodka lemonades on the deck turned so easily into vodka lemonade for breakfast. Wine for baking (not in the recipe…in the baker). More vodka in my lemonade at dinner. And yet more as the evening wore on. By the time I got sober, I hated alcohol. I just simply could not stop. I could not dial it back.
That “aaah” feeling, for me, now comes from getting home from a day out with the kids and kicking off my sandals and putting on my pajamas. (One of the greatest joys of homeschooling is that I wear pjs whenever I am home…no exceptions.) I get my moments of winding down differently now. Because nothing, no beautiful sunset or glorious summer day or glistening snowy night, is so relaxing and perfect that a bottle of vodka won’t ruin it. For everyone.
That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned in recovery.
We can’t see the eclipse up here, but I hope everyone who can has a great time viewing it!
Big hugs and lots of love to you all.