I made it through the whole day yesterday without alcohol. The entire day. A part of me is ashamed of being proud of this fact, but that part is smaller than the rest. It is hard to not drink when you’re used to solving issues that way and it is hard to not drink when everyone else is drinking – so I am going to allow myself to be proud.
It isn’t the end of day three, in fact, its only 10am. However, I am going to a wedding today, staying in a hotel with my fiance tonight (I haven’t seen him for 2+ weeks), and tomorrow is my bridal shower… so I would say we are on pretty solid ground for the next 24 hours.
I vacillate between thinking this is the worst and super hard, but also back to this is normal and why am I even upset about it. I do know that not drinking last night helped me keep my head on straight. Yes, it sucked, because the patterns and behaviours that I numb with alcohol were all too evident — but it also allowed me to think through it, and recognise the patterns for what they are — and to do my best to avoid being an active participant in those patterns.
I also got nine hours of sleep. That helped.
I keep trying to remember what A said about choosing option two. About recognising that my relationship with my parents is never going to be what I want it to be… and doing my best to make it something that works. So I have been trying to practice that. I am not sharing my emotions or feelings around things. I am not picking fights or stating my opinion. I am trying to listen and be empathetic because at the end of the day — my Mom is a hurt little girl inside too. And no, I am not feeling heard right now – but these are not the people, unfortunately, who are going to hear me regardless of how much I scream.
I am trying to separate my emotions from theirs and rely on the supports I do have. What they say and do and think is not a reflection of me, but of them. And while in theory I know that – man is it hard to do in practice. But, I do not often get this opportunity to practice. I do not often stand in the middle of the swirling emotions and feel all these things and get a chance to do something or change the story. I talk about feeling this way in a supported environment, but rarely do I get to practice.
So I am trying to stay positive and grateful… today, I am grateful that I get to see my fiance and that we get to have a marvellous time with friends who I met at the point when my life began to change for the better. I am grateful that I didn’t drink last night and that it taught me that I don’t have to be drunk to survive being here. I am proud of myself. I am positive because I think my relationship with my brother is getting better — he has a new counsellor and I see him making effort that I haven’t ever seen before… and I identify with that struggle. And I am trying to put a positive spin on the learning I can do while I am here.
Being here won’t kill me. I have the capacity to protect myself in a way I never could before. I have the autonomy to leave if I need to and take a break if I want to – although it is hard, I am capable of exercising that freedom. And I have a phone call with A on Monday that I need desperately. I will have to find a safe place to have that conversation.
So it is really hard being here… but this isn’t my home anymore. It doesn’t have to define me or who I am. I am a lot more than who they want me to be. And while what they say and do does affect me, it affects me deeply and triggers me on a level that I haven’t felt in a while — it also represents opportunity.
And I stayed sober for a whole day here… and I’m going to let myself celebrate that.