So 90 days into sobriety and I look at where I’ve been thus far. Some days, I feel like I can conquer the world: I feel joy, energy, happiness and hope. Other days, I feel antsy, agitated, impatient and restless. And, sadly, downright angry. Sometimes, I like to think I am angry at nothing at all. HA. But I know better. Something always triggers something. To say to myself or to others that I don’t know why I’m angry is like saying I threw a stone in a pond and no ripples occurred.
Changing my behavior to meet my goals is totally new. When I was drinking, I “downgraded” my life in so many aspects just so I could keep continue to fuel my addiction. After all, I believed I was never good enough, worthy enough, or deserving enough to live a life of happiness and prosperity. I lied to myself and said that I deserved to drink because I was feeling so wretched inside. Nobody could possibly understand the guilt, shame, sadness and perpetual sense of hopelessness I had in my heavy heart. And, to make matters worse, my “God” set me up for this misery. I mean, if He wanted me to be happy, he could make it happen. So, because I felt stuck, it had to be His fault. Year after painful year, I would quip in late December that “This just wasn’t my year to have it all. Maybe next year!”
But as I elicited laughs from my peers, the truth was there is an inherent part of me that buys into this sick theory. For years, I have allowed alcohol to speak for me, and ultimately, steer my life and my decisions. The most detrimental of all is the way I allowed alcohol to define me externally and internally.
As I continue to move away from using alcohol as my numbing agent and more towards AA, my sponsor, my therapist, mediation, blogging, BFB on Yahoo, journaling and being honest, I have found that it’s not the goals that need to change; it’s me.
Coming to this realization hasn’t been without resistance. How could I undue 44 years of misguided thinking?
“One day at a time.”
It wasn’t easy to start self-care so I had to go about it in a backwards way. I thought about how I would want my own children to be treated. Would I stand by and watch someone degrade my children? Would I tell them their dreams were too big and not to expect much out of life? Did I think they were deserving of forgiveness and unconditional love? By thinking of them and how, as a mother, I wanted them to feel utterly protected, loved, and respected by this universe I was able to SLOWLY make the transition to myself. (And when I say SLOWLY, I mean at a snail’s pace…I’m nowhere near the finish line let alone the halfway mark. Hell, I just suited up and tied my shoes!)
And because I am not at the point where I have totally immersed myself in new thinking, I still often revert to the notion of the impression I leave on my children. I question how do I want my kids to remember me at the end of the day? Do I want them to refer to me as painful, distant, irritated, or do I prefer they smile and think, “Mom was fun and light-hearted, peaceful.” (Please do not read this as I am longing to be the “fun mom” who seeks to be buddies with her children. I have taught hs for 22 years and understand those ramifications all too well.)
So, just for today, I will reach for my newly developed goals and NOT reach for alcohol. I will be grateful for my sobriety and for the opportunity to be clear-headed enough to be introspective so I can make positive changes.