So funny that yesterday I wrote a bit about my divorce (can you believe there’s more, like a LOT more to that story) and yesterday was my youngest son’s 17th birthday, so essentially it’s been about 17 years since all of that happened, and writing it out like that seemed to put it to rest finally, because trust me, I’ve been carrying that around for years. All of your words of kindness, strength, encouragement and me too’s have allowed me to look at it differently.
My oldest son was most affected by the divorce and my drinking back then. He was 7 when it all happened, and he’s always been the sensitive type with an old soul. I feel like when I sat down to tell him that his dad and I were getting divorced he changed forever, similar to how I changed forever. I’ve always felt like it broke something in him, his eyes changed, and there became a sense of sadness to him. He was the first to recognize that I had started drinking, and it caused that sadness to expand, and I’m afraid it filled him up and I could not stop it from happening. He’s 24 now, and through all of these years I have wondered if I should have stayed just so I could have kept this sadness out of his eyes. Should I have worked harder on my marriage? What if I didn’t drink during that time, and instead of focusing on all that pain I focused on bringing my family closer together? How was I at fault in this marriage? Did I put so much of me into my children that I neglected my husband so he had to go elsewhere? And on and on and on this conversation goes in my head at times. Analyzing what I did, the mistakes I made, and beating myself up over my drinking, naivety, and acting on emotion rather than playing all of this out. In the end I’ve been analyzing if my children would have been better off if I stayed. Because if I stayed I wouldn’t have had to work so much and I could have been there to raise them more. My nerves maybe wouldn’t have been so brittle, and maybe I wouldn’t have become a problem drinker that probably, (saying with a big gulp) became an alcoholic.
But yesterday I poured out that story and all of you made me feel powerful, that I had a right to demand a better life for myself, and maybe I did make the right choice all along but didn’t know it. Maybe I had to go through so much so I could learn and grow from it so I can do something with it instead of holding it inside letting it me rot from the inside out. So thank you my friends, I think I’m letting it go, and trusting the universe had a plan, and I’m going to dance into the plan this time.
Which leads me to the word forgiveness. I’m a big forgiver. I forgave my ex husband a long time ago because I was tired of holding hate in my heart for him, and because my oldest son begged me to so we could get along, I forgave my ex so my children did not have to witness the turmoil, and we could somehow be a blended family. It probably took about 7 years, but we did get there. Hell, we just went to my ex’s house for dinner last night to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday! He is remarried and I really like his wife, I guess you could say we are friends, and they now have a young son. Don’t get me wrong, I know who my ex truly is, but he cannot hold me hostage with my feelings around HIM, and I give this forgiveness as a gift to my children.
I obviously can forgive just about anybody anything, but I could not forgive myself. My drinking has never lined up with who I thought I was or was meant to be. So while in the shower after a night of drinking I’d be sure to remind myself about how much I hated myself, how weak I was, how I was a bad mother, and how hopeless I must be. Driving to work feeling like shit, I’d be sure to keep the conversation going to let myself know that I looked worn out, like I’m starting to look like the lifestyle I was living and everybody was going to know what a drunken mess I was. When I had to face the kids after a night of drinking I’d tell myself what a shitty role model I am, how I am probably leading them to a life of addiction, and how they can never be proud of me. Forgiveness was never a gift a could give myself, not until now.
I am starting to forgive myself, and this too, is making a difference in my recovery. Every day I do not drink, and every day I get a little stronger. Everybody had a few drinks last night at the birthday celebration, but not me! My husband sat in the back seat, and my son drove us home because he has his learners permit. I sat in the front next to him. We talked about philosophy of all things for a little bit on the way home. I felt all warm, and a sense of pride in myself, and I hope my son felt a sense of pride in me, his mother. His mother that was fully present for his birthday celebration!
I will pray that we will all forgive ourselves a little bit more today, because we deserve it. We may struggle, we may not be perfect, but we are trying. And that, in and of itself calls for a celebration.
Happy Sober Wednesday!