It's been a while...
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
I haven't written in a long time. But tonight, I felt the need to remember this day. Yesterday I got my wrist tattoo. After a small explanation to the kids that it "was a strong word to live by and a tattoo for them," I woke up today feeling like I owed them more. I didn't like feeling as if I was keeping something from them. A secret. A lie.
This feeling felt familiar. And wrong.
And when I asked Brayden tonight when he and I were alone in the kitchen if he had any questions or thoughts about the tattoo, we got to talking. He knew a lot of the truth behind it. We talked about why I stopped drinking. I explained to him that I started to rely on alcohol to help me cope with my feelings. When I was sad or mad or frustrated, I would drink alcohol, hoping to feel better. But I learned pretty quickly that it wasn't the answer, and it was only making me feel worse. I was starting to rely on it in ways that I didn't like, because alcohol is addictive and not good for you. So to manage my pain, it ended up causing me more pain. And that's when I realized I needed to stop. Brayden said that he thought it was good that I did what I did. Good that I talk to a therapist. And he asked if it was hard to stop and if I ever felt left out when my friends are still doing it. I think he was seeing a lot of his struggles with what he feels at times in what I am going through. He said "that's why it is good to talk to a therapist, to help you through this stuff."He was still concerned that dad drinks though. But I had to explain to him that just because someone drinks doesn't make them bad or have a problem. Alcohol is dangerous, but it doesn't mean everyone has a problem with it.
I told him new ways that I cope with my stress, anger, sadness instead of turning to alcohol. I asked him if he noticed any changes or different things I have been doing with my time. He noticed my meditating, walks and going to bed earlier. I also told him that I do a lot of writing to help me cope with my feelings. He was intrigued by this. I told him a lot of what he struggles with is what I have a hard time with - learning how to deal with big feelings. He was really amazed to see how similar we are, which is something I have come to realize these last few months.
He also told me that he thought it was unfair that I wasn't being honest with Chase and Parker about this. He said, "I thought our family doesn't have secrets." And I was incredibly impressed that he was able to recognize this and advocate for his brother and sister.
I ended up having a similar conversation shortly after with Parker and Chase. And while neither even realized much that I haven't drank these last 6 months, and Parker was more concerned with how I got the parrot on my butt. Neither really noticed any big change I guess - which means so much of the turmoil I was feeling at the end was in fact inside my own brain. I know this. I am grateful that my children weren't able to recognize the struggle I was facing at the end and that it wasn't directly impacting them in ways they can pinpoint or ever remember, but it was such an internal struggle for me that it always felt so, so big.
I told all three kids, and Evan joined at the end, that I made this decision so I could be a better mother for them. I wanted to be better... I felt trapped and stuck for a long time, but now I am free.
Chase came around the side of the island in the kitchen and said to me, "mom, that must have been really hard for you. I am really proud of you for doing this."