I Still Think About Alcohol
Parker, my seven year old, had a rough day yesterday, which in turn made my day a hard one as well. I questioned my ability to parent, on so many levels. I questioned my sanity. And at the same time I found myself even briefly thinking about booze at one point.
I looked at her and wondered how I created such a possessed creature. This beautiful little child had turned on me. She was acting manipulative. Spoiled. Ungrateful. I had run out of tricks. She was downright mean.
By noontime, I thought to myself, now I remember why I used to drink.
It occurred to me, briefly, when Parker stood in front of me screaming that I was "the worst mom ever" for not giving her a lollypop, tears streaming down her face, that times like those I would pour a glass of wine. This realization startled me for a brief moment, but then I realized what was really happening.
Parker was angry at me for making her go to her brother's hockey game. Then she was mad because her bad behavior at the rink didn't earn her a treat, so the sassy attitude escalated into a full on meltdown that lasted way longer than it should have for a seven year old.
In the past, I would have looked at her, immediately thrown in the towel and walked away from all parenting duties for the day. Perhaps I would have been too hungover to deal with the problem, or maybe I would have given in to her demands right away just to make the noise go away, avoiding figuring out what was really going on with her.
But that was not an option yesterday.
Yesterday, I felt defeated and angry with her, and I didn't really know how to handle it. It was the first time in a long time that I had a fleeting feeling of knowing that that was when I used to want to drink. It wasn't like I actually wanted alcohol yesterday. My brain and body are so far from that need now, and I am in control of myself. But it was a very strong awareness that overcame me of a need to escape. I wanted to temporarily numb and avoid dealing with my responsibilities as her mother, and the only way I knew how to do that in the past was to drink. So during my drinking days and certainly at the end of my love affair with alcohol, I probably would have escaped to wine at 12:00PM on a Sunday. That wouldn't have been the first time in my life.
Instead, yesterday I knew I needed to deal with my frustration and NOT numb. I needed to feel and deal. Parker needed something. We were both having a bad day.
I took some time to meditate and clear my head. I couldn't escape my job as her mom. I wanted to hide in bed and cry for feeling like a total failure as a parent, but I didn't.
I took a walk. I breathed deeply. A LOT. Parker eventually napped. And we got through it. Alcohol was never the answer. I know that deep in my core, and I knew back when I was drinking that it was not helping me cope either. I used it to avoid and it helped me literally feel numb to my surroundings. It encased me in a bubble, softening the blow of failure for a moment and easing the crushing weight of defeat for a few hours. But, a massive flood of self-hatred would wash over me when I woke up the next morning, after I was no longer able to hide from my responsibilities. And each time, I would sink lower and lower.
I did not wake up today beneath a cloud of self-loathing disappointment. Today was a new day, and I woke refreshed. I know I did the best I could in my role as mom yesterday. And I did it sober. I need to show myself a little less judgement and a lot more compassion on days like that. I am doing a lot. And I am doing it all with over 400 days of sobriety under my belt.
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