• Kim

Shame Spirals

Do you ever feel like you're walking along through this thing called life and everything seems to be going pretty well. You're getting by. Thriving some days, surviving others. Then suddenly, you hear a song or you see a person or catch a scent that instantly sends you on a trip down memory lane? That can be fun sometimes and enjoyable, but it can actually be rather hard for a sober person to experience.


Recently, it happened to me with a song on the radio. Music often brings up drinking memories for me, because it causes such immediate, visceral reactions. The other day I got transported somewhere else, into the past when I heard a song that I hadn't heard in a while. I pretty much got completely derailed emotionally, my mood shifting, in the blink of an eye.


I heard the song "Despacito," which reminded me of a somewhat bad memory from several summers ago. I thought about that 4th of July day, from the pinnacle of my drinking days. It was a time that ended up being a waste, due to alcohol. Evan and I drank all afternoon at a friends house, then moved onto another party, dragging our kids along. I chose to drink too much, ending my evening in a blackout. I had an epic hangover the next morning, and I wasn't a particularly good mom to my very young kids.


Hearing that song caused a great deal of shame for me, because this was a memory that I worked hard to forget. I hadn't let myself think about it in a long time. Consequently, I hadn't worked through the emotions or forgiven myself for the dumb choices to drink one too many that day.


As I was transported to that hot summer's day, I remember my children being so much younger and so much more helpless. We had plans to go to the pool that afternoon, but we never made it. The kids were disappointed about that. It was an upsetting memory, and I had never allowed myself to work through the shame of it. The best thing I could do was to just allow myself to think about it for a bit and sit in the memory, as painful as it was. Acknowledging the shame that song gave me took some of the power away from it, so the next time I hear it, I hopefully won't feel so badly.


I know memories that hit me out of nowhere can be tough. But I remind myself, that person - that isn't me anymore. I know that I am a better mom, and I make better choices now. No more blacking out around my children or waking up not remembering what I fed them for dinner anymore. It is a relief to know that I won't be doing anything like that ever again.



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