1/29/10

On both sides

I sat in the waiting room and looked around. I can't describe the emotions of waiting your turn to see the chemical dependency counselor. I can't find words to explain how I felt ridiculous. How I nearly burst out laughing because for eight years before I was a mom, I sat in chairs just like the one I was sitting on, but I was on the other side of it. I was a social worker, accompanying my clients to appointments just like this one. I was just like that put-together young lady across from me, reading her Twilight book and waiting for her client to come out of her meeting with the psychiatrist.

I was her, standing up to meet and encourage my client, making sure we got a prescription refill, thoughts of what was next in my day planner on my mind. And then I watched as she, me, carefully helped this seemingly helpless person navigate the steps to the parking lot.

That was me. And this is me.

I texted Ryan and I said, "I'm watching case managers wait with their clients. I was them before. Now I'm on the other side of this, how did that happen? I guess we're all always on both sides."

That's just it. We are both the one in need of help and the one helping, all of us. It's just that most of the time, we're leaning far too heavily on one side of that or the other.

This all still feels really strange for me, after all, I've been the helper my entire life.

~~~~~~~

Today my friend Maggie wrote her truth. In her very own Maggie Dammit way, she poured her heart and soul into the keyboard despite her nerves and fears. Of course I recognized myself in every sentence, because that's just how it is for Maggie and I, even before we both admitted we are powerless over alcohol.
The day I wrote my truth we started talking on the phone. Hours have passed over telephone lines and we are in this recovery thing together, to the day, what a comfort. It just happened that way, as all good things do, in a surprising kind of magical way.
So even if our words met months ago right here online, the depth to our friendship is something new, just in time. This friendship is not only a life vest, it is the icing to the messy cake of my sobriety. I love you, Maggie. We will do this. I am helping you and you are helping me with a balance both our hearts have been seeking. Thank you.

42 clicked right here to comment:

Becky said...

Once again you have given me chills. Lots of love to you and Maggie. and lots of support and sheer pride.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Amazing, powerful words. thank you for sharing when others cannot.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You are in it and I am thrilled for you. I have painted my face with your team colors and I'm starting a wave for you around the stadium.

MidnightCafe said...

Every time you mention Ryan my heart squeezes a little. I'm glad to know you have a husband who you will turn to in the middle of the night...who you will text in a vulnerable moment. I pray for that Unconditional Love to fill both your cups and run all over your family.

And what a beautiful blessing to have found a woman at your AA meeting...and to have found Maggie. I just read her blog. It's so amazing to me how God just knows when we need somebody...when that somebody needs us...when what we need are the real tangible arms and voices of God in this world. You are that voice to many of us. Thank you so much.

Be blessed.

Boy Crazy said...

I'm so glad you two have each other. I've had you both on my mind, and I'm so glad you can buoy each other through recovery.

We're all here bobbing around with extra life vests, when you need us.

xo elizabeth

MommaKiss said...

Maybe some day you will be on the 'other' side again, and this time you'll know exactly what you client is going thru.
Glad you're continuing to do well in your recovery. And with such a beautiful friend to help.

Mammatalk said...

Warm thoughts to you and Maggie! One foot in front of the other, you know?

maggie, dammit said...

I love you.

amanda said...

u and maggie? together? alcohol picked the wrong two girls to mess with!

xoxo

Kathleen said...

Love the 'both sides' picture. Till the day we die it will be giving and receiving. Go girl.

Ann's Rants said...

I have that same feeling every time I got to my therapist.

I conduct both sides of the session, and occasionally I let her get a word in edgewise.

LOVE and very very grateful for you and your 'coming out' that has already helped our dear friend put her inertia in this direction...

xoxo

Sabrina said...

Love you!

5thsister said...

You know, I'm still hanging on the edge of these posts asking for God's help and blessings. You are so strong!

Sheryl said...

proud of you. so glad you have maggie. so glad you have a fellow sojourner at AA. so glad you have Jesus Christ.

Terresa said...

First off, I love you in every virtual bloggy wordy mama way possible. (swak!)

Secondly, the "both sides" thing can feel surreal. The invisible flip from one side of an experience to another, without even almost realizing it.

Here's to strength and friendship and possibility.

L.T. Elliot said...

One of my favorite lyrics is from The Fray that says, "Maybe God can be on both sides of the gun." That feels like me. Sometimes I'm pointing my own weapon and sometimes I'm my own victim. Most times.

I'm so glad that you have these other friends to help you, to be you, and be themselves. Nothing is so lonely as being alone and nothing is so full of life-giving grace as when someone holds our hands.

Rach@In His Hands said...

Lovely Heather, you have SO many on your side. Keep walking, keep fighting, keep sharing.

Kelly said...

I feel like I've been struggling with something. I'm not sure what it is or where it's coming from, but I do know that watching you and Maggie be so brave and so honest and so vulnerable is compelling me to do some soul searching myself.

We all deserve to be our best selves, no matter how hard that process is.

Corinne said...

I'm so glad that you met that woman in AA. And I'm so thankful for you, and for Maggie, and for both of your honesty.
Love you Heather.

Heidi said...

beautifully written and with such courage.

Kerry said...

Wow, deeply moving story. Thanks SOOO much for sharing your truth. I can't imagine how fearful that must've been. Your courage and strength is inspirational. I wish you all the best hun.

That Girl said...

I love you.

Cecily said...

I'm so impressed with you newbies. It's so good to see you folks get what I've been blessed to have for the last 14 years. :)

(and this was a nice way to find your blog, too.)

Em said...

Per usual, I find myself rereading your words, allowing them to really sink in. I come from a long line of alcoholics - I like to pretend that it can't happen to me, but there are days.

Your fortitude. Everday elegance to endure what few people understand. I'm so very thankful that you and Maggie found each other.

Robin said...

Although I always feel like I'm expressing something as popular as "welcome to the diabetes ward" or "glad to have you in head lice central," well, glad to have you. I appreciate your writing and your struggles.

K said...

Just wanted you to know I'm here reading and supporting. So proud of you!

Elaine A. said...

I'm glad you found someone you can really relate to at the meeting and that can help you and you can help too.

Kimberly said...

You are still the helper - that is why you are so loved here. Why all these women are pouring out their love and admiration into their comment boxes. You aren't just helping yourself - you're reaching out and finding the words to touch the hearts of others who are struggling. You are SHARING, what you could choose to keep private, or even just limited to a select few.

You are brave. And you make others braver by being so.

charrette said...

1. Oh, the irony...

2. Oh, the blessings...popping up where you least expect them.

3. And more blessings.

I am constantly amazed at the humbling irony of some of my weaknesses, and the sheer greatness of God to put just the right people in place for me, when and where I need them!

You are brave and strong and amazing. And the blessings will continue to outweigh the irony.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Much love to you, brave beautiful lady.

Stonefox said...

Heather, I just got caught up on your story. First of all, bravo to you for opening up and seeking others in your journey out. No shame, sister, no shame.

Addiction has been something that has followed me around all my life. Soul Healing comes from Rapha Healer, the Great Physician. His love is greater than any other and His ability to reach into those deep places is sufficient for the job. I'm on my journey too, not from alcohol, but from other things, just as real. Keep looking to Him and He will lead you out.

Debbie said...

I am so very thankful that you have such an amazing support group. Thankful that your husband is on your side. Thankful for AA meetings and new friends. And your blogging friends. You are so strong and these people just make you stronger.

Cynthia said...

I recognize so much of myself in your words- the dancing for others, hoping if you dance well enough it will fix everything. And we do ALL have our struggles. Mine is an addiction to yummy food and WAY too much of it. Since my addiction has added pounds to my body, it's not one I can really hide. But I do. I pretend it doesn't bother me or inhibit me. But it does. I'm fighting a different demon than you are but it's a battle I need to take on all the same.

We ALL have our thing. And we can all be a source of strength to each other to triumph over it. Daily. As needed.

Amber Lynae said...

I was just thinking I love the both side part of your thoughts today. Because there are two sides to every story even our own.

Natika said...

I am you and you are me. Tomorrow marks 6wks for me. The dreams of drinking keep me tossing and turning at night. They aren't dreams that excite me. They're dreams that I've actually screwed up and had a glass of wine. I feel shame in those dreams. I wake up with the same shame I had when I would wake up knowing everyone knew I was drinking.

It's so complicated!

AmyLK said...

You are very courageous. Just take one day at a time.

wendy said...

I don't think God meant for any of us to got through these difficult times together.
That is why he created me
That is why her created you
and that is why he created "them"
so we could all learn this process of life together, and help each other
sometimes as the giver
sometimes as the receiver

wendy said...

gosh, I had alot of typo-s in that last comment. sorry
excuse the stupid typing errors

Amanda said...

I stumbled on your story via Stefanie's blog. It's difficult, I know, to admit powerlessness - heck, it took me so long, so very long. I regret that.

Welcome to your new life Heather.

Less Toil Traci said...

It was great seeing you today. And even greater to give you a big hug. Praying for you.

Your new blog page thingy whatever your supposed to call it, is super cute. Love it.

Jae said...

Welcome to life without wine. It took me a good 6 months to figure out what to do with myself without a glass of wine in my hand in the evenings and night. Like you, I looked like a healthy, normal, non-addicted mom of three. No one suspected a thing. Take it one day at a time, and get ready to see the world without the haze of alcohol. It is a beautiful thing. :)

Jen said...

yes. we all are!

" I guess we're all always on both sides."

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