How in the world did 7 months go by so fast? Seven months since those pacing, fretting, panicking, sweaty days of not being able to stop. Seven months since 10 days of relapse led me to that DUI, which led me to classes and people who taught me what I needed to learn about myself.
I’m still learning, but I’m in such a good place right now. It’s like that addiction happened to someone else, almost. How did I get so lost? How did I not see the desperation of my life?
I’ve been handed lifeline after lifeline. I didn’t even realize I was drowning in a sea of wasted time and booze. I was so mired in that sadness that comes with drinking for those of us who drink too much. I was unsure who I was any more and unsure how to get unstuck.
I learned that I need time and space to myself. I learned that I am a very creative person (if I can stay sober long enough to thread a needle). I have learned that I let my voice go unheard in family dynamics…and I’ve learned to speak a little louder. It’s always going to be a work in progress- that’s just life- but now there is actual, you know, *progress.*
I’m still leading one AAA group every week, but I don’t go to any others right now. In the last 3 weeks I’ve felt confident enough- and been busy enough- that I’ve toned down the atheist/agnostic AA to just that one meeting one time a week.
Don’t get me wrong on the busy part: I will always be busy. That’s life with a big family. That’s life with a homeschooling family. Hell, that’s just life. I am not letting “busy” be the reason I don’t go to meetings. If meetings help you stay sober, go to a freakin’ meeting!
But I don’t think I’m going to be one of those people who count chips and days for the rest of my life. I’m realizing that being sober is just my new reality. It’s just how things are going to be from now on.
Right now I have NO inclination to take a drink. I am frankly baffled by my own addiction right now…and amazed at what I’ve been missing. Life is beautiful and full and I have no intention of letting booze ruin it.
So the one meeting is a good fit…I get a reminder once a week of the choice I’ve made and I spend some time reminding myself of where I will be if I decide to drink. Ever. Again.
And for those of you worried that I’m on a pink cloud and will failfailfail if I don’t go to meetings…there are lots of right ways to stay sober. I’m not denying that I’m an alcoholic. I’m just on my own path of recovery. And I’ll keep feeling my sober way with help along the way as it fits my needs. I’m sure there will be times when I feel like I need more help…and I can foresee a time (but not for at least 5 more months) when I will stop using weekly meetings as a “must do” item on my list.
Anyway! It’s great to be back, even if only for a few minutes. Our family emergency is still in a lull, and the rest is a nice change. Especially in this season of snow and quiet days and dark nights. We’re already a couple of inches into our winter and I started up the wood stove tonight. So toasty. It won’t go out again until about April.
I’ve been crafting up a *storm*. Sewing and felting and making gnomes and fairy houses and marionettes and…whew. Here are a few of the things I’ve turned out lately:
A countdown to Halloween calendar for the grandkids. All the little pieces come off and go in the pockets. 31 pieces in all.
“But wait, Penelope!” I hear you say. “How is your actual recovery journey going? How’s the fam? What’s up with the legal stuff? Are you happy?”
Duuuuuuuuuuuuude. Recovery is a serious journey. It will take you to happier places than you ever thought possible…and it will make you humble to the point of tears.
I have an amazing family. And sometimes they are mad at me. Mostly they’re relieved and a little scared that I’ll fuck up again…but they love me back. Even my angry 13yo loves me back, although he tries really hard not to say it. His story is his own, and I wouldn’t presume to put all of his feelings or experiences out there for the world to see…but moms and dads…when you sober up you will feel like shit. You did fuck up. And all you can do now is the next right thing. And then the next. You love those kids fiercely and you throw your humbled self at their feet. Then you say your sorrowful words, get up, dust yourself off, and parent. You don’t grovel and you don’t hate yourself. You get back to being the best you there is, and that’s the best damn gift you can give your family. It’s a gift to yourself, too. Don’t forget that.
And your family will let you know they’re still mad, or scared, or confused…and they’ll let you know that in strange and unique ways. My boys were a little miffed at having Mom back in the game as far as school work and chores and screen time vs. time outside. It’s been a bit of a tug-of-war…and they’ve tried to pull the, “You don’t get to make the rules because you broke all the rules,” card. Standing up to that one was an act of humility in itself.
I’m not going to lie to my kids, or downplay what I did. I drank, and I drank too much, and I drove while intoxicated and thankfully I only drove to the end of the driveway and not onto a main road. but I screwed up in a HUGE way. And I’m doing all the penance I can. But I’m still the mom. And I say I’m sorry through my actions: I’m being a present and engaged mom. I’m making all the meals from scratch and I’m checking homework and I’m not taking anybody’s crap. Because I learned that I’m more than those mistakes. And my children need to see that we can rise from the ashes of our worst moments and take flight into magical new worlds. I don’t live in that headspace any more. There is nothing I can do to make those things better that I am not already doing.
So here I am. Recovering with every hour that takes me further and further from that loneliness, fear, panic, shame. I’m not her anymore, but she is always going to be part of me, part of my story.
The legal stuff is done as far as the courts are concerned. I will have the interlock taken off my car in a week and a half. Whew. Then I have to do a ton of community service somehow to pay the rest of the fine. I’ll just squeeze those hours in between the baking and the teaching. :p I’m not complaining.
Thank you to *everyone* who emailed to see how I was doing. I really appreciate it.