Sobriety Does not Mean Cured (Fixed)
About three years ago when I was in the thick of it all - I was working more than full time- I was working over time, and the sole breadwinner. Even though he was sober, I was told that his brain was mush - more like that of a two year old, and that I had to give him time to get his brain “healthy and back to normal.”
At first, I didn’t believe his brain could actually be that mush, but mush it was. I remember the money I would make would go to his afternoon “out to lunch” lunches with the kids, or he would purchase frivolous things like paddle boards without my knowledge- two of them in fact- which would sit in our garage barely used. Over time my paycheck would continue to go to unnecessary purchases, like a surfboard our son used once- literally. I was barely hanging on.
I remember when I said in his first rehab facility, “Oh, if I can just get him sober, all will be ok, right?” Our mentors at the time, who were family members of addicts and alcoholics, chuckled at me. They said, “Oh honey, if only it were that easy,” as they rubbed my back, gave a knowing glance to each other, and walked away as if they knew a secret. And boy, did they know a secret.
They were so right. Just because he was sober, does not mean he was “fixed, or well.” I had to give it time. So, time I gave it. All the while, being so overworked that by Saturday afternoon at 1 pm, after about a 50 hour work week with two kids, I just collapsed. Collapsed on the grass at soccer fields- I was not the mom socializing. I was lucky if I bought myself lunch.
I Didn't’ Have The Energy to Care
I remember the day I went to my daughter’s soccer game- about 40 minutes away from work. I laid out a blanket, collapsed on my back, spread my legs out, spilled my diet coke- and I didn’t have the energy to eat, drink, or care. All the other moms took this time to socialize, talk, engage… I was lucky I made it to the field.
I was the same for my son at his soccer tournaments- over and over- just barely made it there, and just to collapse. I wanted to be present for my kids. This was not at all “being present,” but it was the best that I could do- drop my body and watch to the best of my ability.
I Was Forced to Stop and Slow Down.
On Monday as I headed back to work, my boss handed me a list and said, “Order this stuff on Amazon.” “What the heck is Amazon??” I thought to myself. I had so much on my plate, I brushed that task off to our assistant, and continued coaching.
A few days later, I explained to my coaching partner how tired I was, and that I had to go pick up a book for our son for school. “Order it on Amazon,” she said. “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS AMAZON EVERYONE KEEPS TALKING ABOUT?!” I got pulled into coaching class again, unable to dive deeper into finding out this unknown. I would continue to hear about this Amazon, but being pulled into coaching classes, attempting to find times to eat, rushing in my car to handle any crisis at home, I never found out about Amazon, until TWO YEARS LATER, when I was forced to slow down.
Do you know when that happened? During Covid. A forced quarantine for a year and a half. I was forced to stop and slow down. Life actually stopped, and I found out about Amazon.com.
You know what my favorite thing to shop on now is? Amazon. Do you know how simplified my life would have been had I taken the time to figure out what Amazon was? But I couldn’t. I genuinely had no brain power at the time. I could fit NOTHING more into my brain. No more news, no more information, no more duties or responsibilities. Nothing. I couldn’t even take the time to learn something that could help me, because I was so overwhelmed, overworked, and overwrought.
As I sit back now, and recall one Saturday afternoon, we happened to have no soccer that day, so we went to a movie. I remember falling into those cushiony seats, and just feeling my pulse, energy, and body slow down, and sink into stopping. I would fall asleep in almost each and every movie. It wasn’t just soccer. It was EVERY SATURDAY FOR TWO YEARS that I put myself into this depleted position.
Simplicity Is Its Own Form of Self-Care
Lesson learned: Take the time to find out about YOUR AMAZON. Whether that’s a new skill, habit, tool, or resource. It will save your life, time, and energy. Save enough battery to understand and learn new tools to help you. Make sure there is always something in your battery. I waited too long every week, and there was genuinely nothing left. That’s on me.
Find YOUR AMAZON. Learn it. Enjoy it. Use it. And don’t feel guilty. You’re doing the best you can, so you can sit up at your kids soccer games, watch a new movie, and enjoy the life we deserve and are meant to live.
Join VoicesInCourage.com. We can be YOUR AMAZON to give you tools and resources to help you navigate this new life, and make sure you always keep your battery running. Launching Fall 2021.