Tuesday, 16 September 2014
I often share in meetings how my husband saved my life. If I hadn't fallen head over heels in love with him and had his children, it could have all turned out very differently. The becoming a parent isn't everybody's catalyst but it was definitely mine, in so many ways. Physically, I was at someone else's beck and call. My baby's sleep patterns became my sleep patterns, his feeding demands satisfied through mine; I was a reactive parent, constantly one step behind him and on the back foot from day one. Intellectually and emotionally, life changed too. The focus of my day was no longer my own, I had this child who was dependent on me for setting up his entire life and boy, didn't I know it. I had always said that I wouldn't be having children, that I had no right to impose my dysfunction on anything else, how grateful I am for that change of heart. Yet, how guilty that makes me feel too for I was definitely a stressed mother (and still am, for the time being) and they will always have that. But they changed my drinking, it had to slow down, there were less parties, less days in the pub, less days in bed wasted. I've only recently accepted that I chose to make the changes, that I could easily, as many others have and do, carried on and not changed. They could be much more aware of the consequences of having an alcoholic mother and for the lack of that I am truly grateful. It is also why I began to get sober. I finally realised that I couldn't continue with the lack of regard for the consequences, that their dependence on me was my choice and I had to reduce the damage. Those early days sat in AA meetings, denying myself of any worth or value, thinking I could get sober for them, that it didn't have to be about me, were incredibly painful. Fortunately, I did accept that it had to be about me and that I could only be there for others if I looked after myself. That, if I don't put my sobriety at the foremost of my life there will always be the risk of a relapse, and what use would I be then. It is particularly hard at the moment, as I look at my wobbly stool, to see how my home life is causing me stress. I find it the hardest place to be myself. I don't know if it's because I feel so responsible or because I expect so much. The roles of wife and mother seem to clash wildly with being me and I know that I have to change this. It doesn't mean that I have to leave them, panic not, it does mean that work is needed to get to a better place. Weirdly, it's made me quite broody too, maybe a desire to start again from scratch instead of fixing what's broken, to take the easier route. What's comforting is that, as I'm working at being myself, some of my old characteristics are returning and it's dawning on me that some of the person I used to be is ok. I have moments when my energy levels are up, I'm cracking jokes and I'm having fun again. Only this time, I'm not feeling insecure, useless, or hiding behind a mask; I actually feel comfortable being myself and am really appreciating what I've achieved. There are still many times when I don't but I can accept the growth, not beat myself up and choose to focus on the positive.