Courage me

Courage me.

I say that like I'm at the bar, beer me!

What is it, this courage? Maybe if it's been given to me, I should know. But I don't. Am I called courageous because I quit drinking?

Let me be honest. I don't feel very courageous. I feel foreign, like I'm learning the customs of a new culture.

I'm swinging up here in the corner of the room, watching myself walk around in a fog, not drinking. I said that in an email to someone still stuck in her web of addiction and feeling so ashamed in comparison to those of us who have quit. I told her that I've only gotten as far from the middle as to dangle from my corner perch, watching myself, this strange person who can't figure out how to be. That's where I am, just hanging there like a spider needing her prey, wanting it, poised and ready to feed her need.

So please don't think I have more courage than you do, friend.

Sure, I'm not stuck in that middle anymore, trapped. I did quit. But I'm still here in this web of me, good ol' addicted me. It's like a friend said, he may have removed the alcohol from his alcoholism, but he's still got a whole lot of the ism to deal with. Me too.

So yes, I'm holding on to my addiction even while abstaining. I'm holding on to it at least by a thread, not finding myself able to fully let go. After all, the addiction web is sticky and I've been in it for a very long time. If I do let go, I'm terrified this last string I'm connected to will break and send me crashing to the rock bottom I've narrowly avoided by quitting. So I'm allowing myself to miss the booze, to grieve it even. To think about it way too much just like I used to, until my mind and body are a little stronger and can figure out what else to do. I'm hanging here until I'm more prepared to say goodbye, and more able to see the good things in me. The good things that aren't of my ism. The things that are waiting to be lived out more fully and have been there all along.

The dictionary describes courage like this: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

quality of mind or spirit

without fear

That kind of courage takes a long time to find, to learn. I don't have it yet. This whole sobriety thing demands it, but it's not there at first, at least not for me. To refrain from drinking is hard, yes. But once I voiced my need for help it was as if the option was taken away. No choice. Frozen. Stuck. Foreign.

Now what?

I was thinking about this on the way home from an AA meeting yesterday. About all of it, and I started to feel the mind and soul numbing exhaustion of this experience. I came through the door and kicked off my shoes. There was my family, on the couch, content and shiny beautiful to me. I watched Miles carefully oh so carefully construct his latest Lego creation. It amazes me, the time that boy can spend on these elaborate buildings and airplanes and ships, not following any kind of pattern or picture, just creating to the beat of his own drum. The patience he has for it and the work he's willing to put forth are simply astounding. The effort of his tiny fingers on tiny plastic pieces, matching colors, undoing and redoing until he's satisfied and content, until his masterpiece is just as it should be as he sees it. That's what he was doing, yet again, when I took off my coat and looked up, my heart hurting and my head pounding.

Daddy asked him, Oh are you rebuilding that?

He said, I'm not just rebuilding it, I'm renewing it.

And I thought, me too.

That is being done for me too, not by me. With even more careful care and determination than that of a child, and with a fierce love for a masterpiece creation. That's what I have to believe. That is what is being done here. Not just rebuilding, but renewing. And that will happen even if I'm still and cold like a small piece of plastic. And it will happen even if I'm just watching from the corner of the room, because that's all I can do right now. It will happen in this slow surrender.

The road from here is the place that I'll need that elusive courage from the dictionary. It is in the trip down from the web even after the drinking is done. Right now I can't muster the strength for that kind of courage. So I beg for it, courage me, and I know it will come. I will finish the descent from this web and join in, with time.

52 clicked right here to comment:

Ellie said...

Wow, you describe it so well - what a gorgeous post. You are courageous, you know. It takes serious guts to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to face down your fears even if you don't know exactly how you're going to do it, yet, how you're going to be.

I used to HATE it when I heard someone say they were a "grateful" recovering alcohoic. I'm still not grateful - maybe I never will be - but I understand better, now, what they mean. I am able to live an authentic life - with all its imperfections - and that IS a gift. It just doesn't always feel like one.

My Bottle's Up! said...

great new digs... renewal in a multitude of ways. wishing you continued strength.

*Lissa* said...

It will come. I think you already have more courage than you realize.


Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Until now, I've missed the chance to comment on this new journey you're on.

Thanks for sharing it with the world. Nothing's more ENcouraging than to see the baby steps of courage taken by a friend. I'll pray that God keeps "couraging" you just enough for the next step.

MommaKiss said...

Love the new look!
Now keep working on the new life :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

There's a whole lot of isms, isn't there?

Thank you for having the courage to SHARE your journey, that is definitely something you have. :)


Angie said...

From the lips of children. It's amazing how God puts these dear ones in our lives to speak into our hearts so clearly.

Praying for your renewal.

“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Hope that "courages you".

I'm praying. Hope that "courages you", too.

Em said...

Oh the isms. Such a small "word" for such life-altering power.

Courage to you my sweet friend. I think you're going to be surprised to find you had it all along :-)

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

I think that what you are doing is amazing and thank you for sharing. That was a fantastic post.

Becca said...

Know that scripture "Cast not away therefore thy confidence"? That. To you.

(Not to be flippant or anything, but my word-veri is Vivermoo, as in To Live Like a Cow. Precious.)

Kelly @ Love Well said...

First, I love the new design. It's very real. :-) Seems appropriate.

Second, I prefer the definition of courage being the moving ahead in spite of the strangling feelings of terror. I remember the first time I jumped off the diving board. It was freaky to walk out on that thing all bouncing and tiny. But I did it anyway.

One step at a time, right?

Lindsey said...

Oh, Heather ... just, YES. You ARE very courageous, and it takes bravery even to acknowledge where you stand and what lies ahead. Thank you for holding a lantern in the darkness.

Kristina P. said...

It will be one small step at a time. And you might have setbacks. You ARE courageous.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Courage you. Courage.

I think that in some ways every step in life takes courage. Being a mother, asking for help, daring to love. So yes, you are courageous. For this step, and for all steps.

Courage you. Courage.

TKW said...

Your words, your courage, your honesty in all things that are racing through your mind...you have no idea how many people you are helping by publishing your truth.

You may feel like your dangling, but that thread is strong.

AmyLK said...

You will find the courage to come down the web, step by step, one day at a time. With each step will come the renewing of YOU. Coming here to share your words will give you courage. Your family and friends will give you the courage to come down from the web.

One Step, One Day at a time. That's all that you need to do. One Step, One Day.

Motherboard said...

The thing you have to remember is that we ALL have isms. You were just courageous enough to face yours. Your courage to face your ism will give others the courage they need to face theirs.

I can't wait to finally meet you at CBC'10!

Motherboard said...

PS. I LOVE your new blog design. Pink Sparkly love it.

Erin said...

If I could fill your cup with courage, I would. I pray that the One who can, will.

You're a rock star.

Jen said...

This was so inspiring. Truly it was. Just one step at a time.

PS I really like your new design :)

Becky said...

"...he may have removed the alcohol from his alcoholism, but he's still got a whole lot of the ism to deal with."

Oh, how I love this line. It can apply to just about anyone, because I think we've all got some sort of ism to deal with.

Hang in there!

Jami said...

Oh so beautiful. I'm still dealing with my -ism too. I've found that the Savior is pretty amazing at saving us from what others have done to us and what we've done to ourselves. He's couraged me many, many times. Love you.

amanda said...

renewing it? how brilliant is he mama?

and you too :)

ps - love the new diggs.

maggie, dammit said...

Wow. Your kid is COOL.

And, yeah. But you knew I'd get it. It's such a weird thing to be called brave when all you feel is fear.

One day at a time, my friend.

(C did an AWESOME JOB ON YOUR BLOG. I love it!)


Sara Joy said...

There are so many quotes about courage and I couldn't find the one I wanted but the gist was this: courage is not the absence of fear, it is doing what must be done in the face of fear.
So I fundamentally disagree with your dictionary, and every step you take, however small, every precise piece you find a way to place in this new you, is by definition an act of courage. I'd love to hand it to you, but the thing is I'm pretty sure you have more than I could ever give you, it's just a matter of piecing it together.

warmchocmilk said...

I like the new look! :)and love you as always!

Kelly said...

Sometimes you don't have something, so you search for it. I think you're finding courage every day with brave, trembling steps.

Lee of MWOB said...

Oh dude. I loved your writing before. But I think I might love it even more right now....on your journey to true soberdom. When not only the alcohol is gone but most of the ism too.

I love thinking about Miles and those renewable Legos. What a love.

Here's to continued courage in the rebuilding and the renewing....hope your Lego tower is all shiny and sparkly and gets you to exactly where you want to be.


deb said...

I love the image of you coming home to your family.
From outside to the inside.
And they receiving you , as you though you were there all the time.

love to you Heather.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

Think there will be days it doesn't have to be so hard? Such a struggle? A #$% day where it can be a minute of rest in the mind?
I sure hope so, don't you?

Heather of the EO said...

Oh Sara, I hope so, too. And it has to get easier. All these lovely ladies who've been through it aren't lying to me, I'm sure of that.

MsPicketToYou said...

what an amazing time to catch up with you...

sort of low on words at the moment... cept for wow.

Kim said...

You can do this. You are doing this. I know right now it seems so impossible and larger than life, but I know you can do this. You are amazing, you are strong and you are courageous. You have to have courage to take that first step, and the next and the next. You are doing it. The courage builds upon itself.
Keep trusting God to help and lift you.

blueviolet said...

I really think your choice of the word renewal is a perfect one!

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Heather, you are showing such strength. I'm sure at times you are not feeling strong, but just keep taking it a moment at a time. You are Courage and you are living Courage each and every day!

L.T. Elliot said...

I loved that "Renewing it." I want to renew me. You say "courage me" and so I say "renew me."

Even though you're suspended from the web in the corner, watching this new life, someday you'll make your way into the room.

Corinne said...

I love the bit about renewing. And I also love what your friend said about taking out the alcohol, but still being left with the ism.
And I love your new look :)

Boy Crazy said...

Hey honey. Lookin good. :)

I keep starting to comment but then deleting, so I'm just going to email you.

Love you.

april said...

What a beautiful post. I've been dealing lately with finding my own courage. There are times we are face with this thing called courage, and sometimes we're not sure we have not only courage but the strength to see it through. You do. I know you do.

Much love.

kirsten said...

so....wow. you have an amazing group of truly supportive & wise readers who beat me to everything I was just about to say. Lucky, lucky (maybe I'll just go with blessed??) lady.

isms? we all got 'em. Yours is a mean one, a stubborn & hanging on one, but we all got some version.

Alcoholic may be one title, but damn if you don't have about a million more that affirm what a rockin' individual you are. Don't let it be the most important definition.

Let COURAGEOUS maybe be that most important one, because even if you're not feeling it, you're BEING IT.

Peace & grace, friend. We're here with you.

Rach@In His Hands said...

It takes courage to walk this foggy journey, Heather. YOU ARE DOING IT. And I'm so proud. I find myself thinking of you, friend, throughout the day and I pause and pray for you. Courage you!!!!

Amber said...

You are very courageous. You give me hope to fight against my own addictions.

P.S. Love the new site!!

That Girl said...

I think I'm taking issue with Mr. Webster. Courage is "facing difficulty without fear"? BULL. To me, courage is facing difficulty IN SPITE OF FEAR. It is because of the fear that we are courageous. It is because of the opposition that we find out who we really are.

And I like who you really are, Heather. Lots.

Haley said...

I think you are so good at describing just what addiction does...and how hard it is to let go.

I think you are very strong.

So proud of you...you will kick this thing hard...I see it coming. :-)


Kazzy said...

One of my fave quotes:

Adversity introduces us to ourselves.

Then I get embarrassed at myself when I freak out or get paranoid or uptight, etc etc. But the truth is, when we face something difficult and actually live to tell about it, that is courageous enough.


Rebecca said...

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying... "I will try again tomorrow." ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Listen and hear your courage whisper to you. It is there, it is evident in your words and your love.

Prayers for you, many many prayers for you.

txmomof3 said...

Like other commenters, I also disagree with that definition of courage. I prefer one given by C.S. Lewis:

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality."

If the struggle to get sober (and deal with your isms) isn't the point of highest reality, I don't know what is. This is one of your life's testing points and you are getting up every morning and putting one foot in front of the other. You are courageous. And you are an inspiration. And, I might add since this is the first time I have ever commented on your blog, the most beautiful writer. Keep up all your good work. You have so many people pulling for you, relating to you, being strengthened by your words. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

love said...

i hear what you're saying, but i respectfully disagree w/ that dictionary, too. =)

this post brought this to mind for you. HE will give you the courage to make you new and glorify Him....

Bestow on {you} a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. {You} will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His spendor. Isaiah 61:3

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

I found you from Corinne's place. Girl, just speaking it, out here, for EVERYONE or ANYONE to read. Courage! You may not feel it when you're consumed with your web of deceit, called addiction. The one that lies to you and tells you IT will make it better. But speaking IT and releasing truth, is the true meaning of Courage. It's not about winning the battle, it's about willing to fight to the battle. You got a whole mess of messy folks out here, who'll be here to Courage You. So keep it real.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think most of us can relate to this. Especially those of us with blogs and a virtual community that tells us how great we are (funny, talented, insightful...mother of the year!...and of course brave) - when we feel anything but. But you really are funny, talented, insightful, mother of the year! and so so so brave.

Erin said...

I love you and miss you, friend.

Eowyn said...

I find that dictionary definition annoying.

I always thought that courage was doing "it" in spite of the fear.

No-one has no fear.

You are courageous. Facing any fear is courageous.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Blog Designed by: NW Designs