I write this in an unusually good mood from the airport lounge while I wait for my flight back home from MO – which, for those of you new here, is what I call where I grew up/my parents house.
I have some reflections on this trip. I came home because my best friend had her new baby and was overwhelmed and so my whole desire was to spend that time with her. But it also overlapped with some family time.
Traditionally being here has been a challenge for me. The last time was easier and as I learn to identify what is causing me stress from this day and time versus what is emotional leftover scarring from the past, it’s been easier for me to react appropriately. And as I begin to trust the signals my body is giving me as to what it needs and to intuitively respond, I’ve been more able to set boundaries or remove myself from situations.
I have four main reflections/accomplishments from this trip.
1) I spent the whole time here sober. THE WHOLE TIME. As of right now I’m 10 days sober and counting, but five of those were here. Its traditionally been the hardest place for me to be sober, with the free booze flowing, me finding it hard to deal with others while they’re drinking, and the emotional memories that pop up for me here. Its been stressful previously. But I’m honestly over the moon. I can do it. I can be sober in what is my most challenging situation. I truly did feel that this shift had to happen or I was going to give up on myself, and I did enrol support in the form of three best friends. But at the end of the day I feel so accomplished and that’s been really good for me.
2. I have learned to let things go and move on instead of dwell. My brother asked to have a conversation with me and it was a bit of a shock, I can’t elaborate but essentially it’s something I previously would have reacted to in anger (but also something he would have previously not handled well). He has come leaps and bounds working with his therapist, clearly, in that he wanted to have the conversation face to face and seemed genuinely contrite and concerned about how it would affect our relationship. But because I was sober I was able to recognize these things and respond to something that would have previously sent me spiralling, with grace.
3. I mentioned I was here to visit my friend who had a newborn. Historically, I’ve been very wary of becoming a Mom. Worried about my capabilities, worried about being my Mom. Worried about fracturing my life and relationships. But as I held this 21 day old little boy and he sighed and snuggled in and slept in my arms – I was the most peaceful I’ve been in months. It was so calming, so lovely. And I was able to confidently pick up a newborn and change a diaper and get him back to sleep and above all his Mom found this so helpful that I got to do it for hours each day. And with each passing minute that tiny baby taught me that I’m capable. My best friend says that this was a gift to her, that I showed up to help at the right time. But really, it was a gift for me too.
4. Finally, the conflict between my husband and brother and husband and mother that has been a main worry of mine for months (especially around having kids). My mom has mentioned she doesn’t care about if they talk again, as has my brother, as has my husband. So why do I care so much? I have decided to stop making it an issue, to do what I want, and either my husband can get on board and show up or not be there. I can have a healthy relationship with my family without him. Does it hurt? Yes. But is it something to divorce him over? No. Is it something I’m going to keep “what iffing” on? I am going to try not to. Its not worth it for my sanity or my health. I don’t care who is right anymore, I just want healthy relationships with them all.
So there are still hurdles in my life. Staying sober, for one. Managing work stress. My sex life sucks pretty badly. And I feel gross in my body right now. Also, everytime things get good I massively and royally screw them up because that feels more comfortable.
But for now, let’s raise a La Croix to a good trip, to strides being made, to self awareness and to not being (as) scared to be a Mom.