Saturday, October 22, 2016

Where have I been?

So, it's been awhile.  Somehow, life happened and a month went by.  When recovering addicts disappear for any amount of time, it's kind of natural to think maybe we fell off the wagon.  And, that's understandable.  But, I am here to assure you that I did not fall off the wagon.  I'm sober, clean, alive, and consistently moving forward!  

One of my friends works at a treatment facility and reads my posts to the girls in the house. She finally messaged me because the girls wanted to know why I hadn't written anything in over a month. Sorry girls!

Life is just overwhelming.  So is recovery.  So is being a mother.  So is being a wife.  So is being a volunteer.  So is giving back.  It's so overwhelming, but so good at the same time.  But still overwhelming.  Sooo overwhelming.

I spent so many years just sitting back watching the world go by, that it almost feels completely new to live again.  It feels strange.  I feel like a fifteen-year old girl in the body of a thirty-five year old woman.  One of my friends recently said it this way.  "I feel like I'm driving a car. And I look around and see all of these big people driving cars.  And they don't even know that I feel like a little girl driving a big car."  During my addiction, I didn't take care of my kids.  I didn't feed them.  Didn't wash their clothing.  Didn't read them books.  Didn't help with homework.  I didn't do laundry and make beds.  I didn't spend time with my husband.  I didn't answer phone calls.  I didn't go to family functions.  I didn't go to ballgames.  Didn't go to the grocery store.  Didn't pay bills.  Didn't go to appointments.  Didn't renew my license or pay my traffic fines or fill out important paperwork. I didn't exercise.  Didn't spend time on my appearance or health. 

My average day in addiction looked like this:

Crawl out of bed and find clothes for the kids.  If there were none clean, I would find ones that didn't appear to be that dirty.  I would be grouchy and impatient and rush everyone to the car.  My vehicle would usually be out of gas, so I would stop and get some fuel and send the kids inside to get their breakfast (a candy bar) and something for lunch.  I dropped them off, went home, and crawled back in bed.  I would sleep a few more hours, and by the time I woke up, I would already feel dope sick.  I would then pop open the pill bottle and the day was over.  I wouldn't get off the couch to help my husband or the kids do anything.  I would, however, scream orders at them from my place on the couch.  After he and the kids finally went to bed, I would stay up half the night until I finally nodded out.  What a miserable and useless life.

My day now looks so different.  This is the first week that I have been out of outpatient treatment, but this is just an idea of what my day has looked like for the past six or so months.  Let's look at a random Thursday...the busiest day of my week.  

4:30 am:  Alarm clock goes off.  Convince myself not to push the snooze button. Throw on workout                   clothes, brush my teeth, let the dog out to potty, and hop in my car.
5:00 am:  Meet a couple of friends to exercise.
6:00 am:  Head home, make sure oldest daughter is out of bed, hop in shower, and get ready.
6:45 am:  Get oldest daughter to school while husband drags other children out of bed.
6:50 am:  Get other children ready while husband packs lunches.
7:20 am:  Get youngest two in vehicle to leave for school...make sure they have signed papers and                       lunchboxes
7:50 am:  Drop not-so-littles off at school.
8:00 am:  Arrive at outpatient for hour of counseling.
9:05 am:  Get drug screened at outpatient.
9:30 am:  Arrive at volunteer work.
1:45 pm:  Leave volunteer work to head back to outpatient.
2:00 pm:  Hour and a half group at outpatient.
3:15 pm.  Leave group a few minutes early to pick not-so-littles up.
3:20 pm:  Stop to get frozen yogurt for our self-proclaimed weekly "Froyo Thursyay."
4:00 pm:  Drop youngest daughter off at voice lessons.
4:05 pm:  Arrive at husband's work to wait for said daughter to be done with voice lessons.
4:45 pm:  Pick daughter up.
5:10 pm:  Husband and I throw together a quick dinner for the family and sit down together at dining                 room table to eat. We each share the best and the worst part of our days, and I sometimes                     make us all compliment one another.  Surprisingly, the kids love this.
5:40 pm:  Leave house to head to worship team practice.
6:10 pm:  Arrive at worship practice late (let's just be real here).
7:15 pm:  Leave worship practice.
8:00 pm:  Occasionally hit a meeting on my way home.
8:15 pm:  If I didn't go to a meeting, walk in door, send not-so-littles to the shower while I find and                     press tomorrow's clothes and clean out today's lunchboxes.
9:30 pm:  Send not-so-littles to bed while husband and I argue about whose turn it is to tuck them in                    (let's just be real here).
10:00 pm:  Finally crawl into my bed with a heating pad.  Husband and I try to watch a show together                   (same one we've tried to watch for the past four nights) and I immediately hear him                             snoring.  I wait for oldest daughter to walk in the door from work, ask her about her day,                     tell her good night, turn off TV and go to sleep....if I can drown out the snoring).  Most                         nights, I pay husband back for his snoring by waking him up with one of my crazy                               nightmares that I fully believe is real.  
4:30 am:   Do it all again.  

Oh, and I'm also working my 4th step. My fellow recoverees should understand the stress of this.  

I sometimes look around at other adults and think they make it look so easy.  Like they've been doing this adult thing forever!  And then I look at myself and wonder how long I will make it.  I'm not used to all of the feelings.  They are so new and so raw that I can't ignore them.  They make my chest hurt. I am not used to being responsible.  Or taking care of my family.  Or volunteering.  I am not used to really living.  

Needless to say, I have felt the need to step back and look at my schedule.  To decide what is most important and to find balance.  Sometimes it means giving up something that I really want to do, but I have learned that I CANNOT let myself become completely overwhelmed.  I will crumble.  
I have also learned that I have to prioritize.  Just because my life is crazy right now does not mean that I have to let go of doing the things I love to writing, and having lunch with friends, and helping with classroom parties.  

Ultimately, I felt the need to discontinue going to outpatient.  It was a tough decision and I was a little bit (or a lot) afraid, but God made things fall exactly into place to help me make the decision.  I prayed and talked to my husband and sponsor before I solidified that decision.  They both felt I was ready, and as my sponsor put it....there is a difference between treatment and recovery.  It's time for me to live my recovery.  It's time to stay clean because I want to, not because I don't want to fail a drug screen (believe me.....I DO want to...stay clean that is!!!).  It's time to continue forward.  With a supportive husband, kids who rely on me, an awesome sponsor, and amazing people who hold me accountable, I will do just that.  HUGE sigh of relief here.  Just writing that makes the pain in my chest leave.  I don't mean to brag, but I really do have the best support system ever.  

If you are an addict in recovery, you get this.  And I'm gonna guess you might feel the same way. You might think you will always feel like a little person in a big world.  It gets me.  I think I will always feel "different", but it gets better.  You might think (like I did) that recovery is about "staying busy".  It's not.  It's about being productive and responsible, but also about being comfortable with yourself in the quiet/down times.  It's ok to give yourself a day of binge watching your favorite Netflix or Hulu series!  I do that sometimes (let's just be real here).  

To our loved ones.....please understand that we need your patience.  Even the smallest things can overwhelm us.  There are days that we completely miss the mark, but we are trying.  Thank you that you are still here.  Part of the reason we try so hard is to make you proud of us.  We want to be clean...first for ourselves and our Higher Power, but then for you.  

Most nights when my head hits the pillow, I am so physically, emotionally, and mentally drained that I could cry.  I am so full of gratitude, love, satisfaction, and healthy pride that I do cry.  And I remind myself that I did it.  One more day.  At a time.  And I will wake up the next morning and do it all again.

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