I’ve recently hit another sobriety milestone [think coin, claps, and hugs], and while I’m sitting here with gratitude for another day sober, I’m also sitting here with an immense amount of gratitude for my relapses. Sobriety is weird like that. Last month I was ticked off I didn’t have more time. I was mad my Dad called me, “fragile,” that everywhere I turned I felt like someone was telling me something I could do better or should do for my recovery, and that on top of everything else I still had to wipe poopy butts.
If only I hadn’t relapsed, I would have 6+ months. If only I hadn’t relapsed, maybe people would have a little more faith in me. If only I hadn’t relapsed, maybe I wouldn’t be crying this much. While I want more sober time than I have, if I hadn’t relapsed, I wouldn’t be where I am in this moment in time. And right now, I’m really, really, learning to love myself. Which is something that I can say I haven’t felt in a long time. Thank you relapses for THAT!
Here’s what my relapses have taught me in a nutshell:
- Drinking can and will always be an option. But it will kill me. Whether it will physiologically destroy my body and impact my ability to parent, I will be dead inside. Not to be dramatic, but I never want to get that bad… and that’s the path I’m headed down if I pick up a drink.
- I never want to experience the emotions from a relapse ever again. The shame, guilt, sadness, and embarrassment I felt after my last relapse was enough to scar me for life. Believe me when I say that it’s a deadly experience.
- My relapses do not define me, or my sobriety story. They in turn have taught me I have the strength to get through a really hard time, and that I can now use that strength for something positive in my life.
- A big part of my relapses were because I felt hopeless. Like I had no other option besides going back to what I thought was normal; picking up a drink. I wasn’t honest, I put on that smile and happy face, and continued to drink behind closed doors, thinking this was just how my life was going to be. But during my last stay in rehab, one of the therapist’s got me thinking about myself as one of my own children. As someone I need to care for just as much as I care for my own child. What can I do to protect her? How do I want to treat her, so she is happy, loved, and respected? Well, my friends, that’s by #1 NOT drinking and using. It’s also by learning to love my “flaws” and defects, because if I don’t think I’m the whole package, no one else will.
- Speaking of flaws… I used to think I was too much. I talked too much, I asked too many questions, I didn’t have my kids in enough activities, I wasn’t fit enough, I wasn’t working on my blog enough. The reality is, 4 little people think I’m just enough. And at the end of the day, that’s what I want for them. To know AND believe they are enough too.
So, thank you relapse, for teaching me that I am more than enough. And worth every single second of sobriety.
[PS. 90 days in and I’m still saying the serenity prayer multiple times a day. I could probably say it in another language if you asked me to or recite it backwards. Here’s another serenity prayer that’s hit my bulletin board]:
Side note: Learning to love yourself again? Or interested in doing so? A friend recently suggested I start writing down 3 things I like about myself each morning and each night. And they have to be different things every day. For today, I’ll leave you with my 6:
I love my laugh lines because they show how much I love to smile and laugh.
I love my passion for Michigan State Football.
I love that Lily wearing a Black Panther mask brings me to tears every time I see her. YOU GO GIRL!
I love that my kids want Mom in the night.
I love rocking out and dancing to “80’s classic rock radio.” Thank you Alexa.
I wouldn’t trade an afternoon or night of watching football with my Dad for anything.