I told my counselor today that this summer I allowed myself “permission” to just sit quietly (a lot!) and rest, reflect and heal. When I decided to get sober this past June, I had no idea that I would feel emotionally drained for so long – the exact opposite of what I was expecting.
Ironically, for me, the clearer my mind becomes, the less I seek the chaos that was once my life – am I now addicted to peace?
Talk to anybody who has been in recovery for more than a couple of years and they will nod in complete agreement and understanding and say, “the longer you are sober, the more you will enjoy a quiet life.” The trick is learning how to quiet the things that once stressed me emotionally without alcohol. This must explain my present state of fatigue, I am like a child learning to ride a bike without training wheels.
Thus, the subject of today’s blog: How does one successfully “recover in community,” with normal deadlines, stresses, demands and all sorts of other messy obstacles life presents? I began my sobriety without any kind of in-patient treatment, so I have been “hanging out there” in community trying to stay sober and keep my life going for five months. It is tiring. I wish I could say it is thrillingly exhilarating – the gratitude I feel each morning for a new day, a healthy and loving family, and my sobriety is comforting. But maintaining it all makes me well – TIRED.
Doing what is best for my 2 very different children without the influence of alcohol is certainly much easier and more enjoyable! However, some days it feels like I don’t have as much to give as I’d like. My body, mind and soul feel tapped out because all I can do is just “be” and “love.” Is this enough??? I see other parents (whose sobriety status I am not aware of) really “managing” their kids’ lives and this clearly is not what is happening under my roof. And the gnawing question I have, now that I am sober is, “what’s the difference between the way I loved drunk and the way I am loving sober?”. Or anything for that matter. And I think the answer is caring and feeling versus numb and complacent. I think my body hurts and my spirit feels tired because it hurts to feel and process one’s thoughts in healthy ways all day long, especially when you are responsible for young adults.
When I talk about these fears and feelings to my non-sober friends, I kind of get blank stares. Other addicts know exactly what I mean. It’s what makes us all different and interesting, right? So I continue to make room in my life for AA meetings, conversations with others who are focused on their recovery, and living a day to day life that is healthy, balanced and aimed at giving my family the right kind of love – without cheating myself. That’s enough for one person to handle. And that, my friends, is how I am attempting to “recover in community.”
Stay the course!! You are a beautiful, strong, loving woman. I love you! Laurie
This was the hardest part for me to manage…the part where life is just life. I was so used to escaping (first with exercise and food and later with wine) that I had no idea how to manage a life without leaning on something. And when standing on my own two feet, all by my lonesome, I got TIRED. Slowly however, it just became natural. I still get tired and worn out by life and it’s circumstance but I think…this is normal. This is how “normal” people go through their days.
As far as teenagers go, as long as they know you have their back it really doesn’t matter whether or not you ‘manage’ their lives. They need rules, boundaries and limitations (thank you Cesar Milan) and a lot of love. Everything else is just fluff. IMHO
Congrats on figuring out how to recover in community. Took me a lot longer to get a handle on it!
I love your comments and sometimes need time to think before I reply. Thank you for your regular following and heartfelt words. I learn a lot from your writing and think we must be connected souls! You are one of the reasons I “hang in there”! Thanks again.
This post really moved me. I also think I really *get* what you’re feeling — a degree of it anyway. I’m not in recovery — well, I suppose I kind of am. I had an eating disorder, exercise addiction, and I guess I’m fairly okay now, but it takes a lot of work to not fall back into that OR to replace that addiction with a different one — like alcohol.
I find that I HAVE to prioritize time to sit and reflect and process emotions, and that leaves WAY less time for loads of business that it seems many of my friends and acquaintances have more energy for. I feel a bit like an underachiever, especially as far as what I DO for my children. I also think that my husband likes me better addicted, which is hard for me to grapple with. I’m pretty comfortable with my emotions and how I have to handle them at this stage of my life and recovery, but it’s hard when others can’t seem to handle my emotions or my needing time to sit and process them. I often get that I seem. . .’different’ like they can’t put their finger on it. Sometimes I wish I could scream — “When I was getting so much more done and accomplished, I was HIGHLY messed up.”
I love reading your writing. Lots of love as you continue this journey.
Thank you so much for your kind comments and regular support. The journey is tiring yet rewarding. The people that really care about me DO understand my needs (or, better said, tolerate). It’s nice to not be in the “people pleasing” business any longer! Thanks again for following me and sharing your thoughts. xo
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