8/16/10

knees

I think back on it. Back before we moved, nearly eight months ago already. I think back on the difference and I compare for a while. I feel sick to my stomach for a while. Then I feel grateful for a while.

There was rarely anything that could interrupt my drinking routine. And if something came up, I almost always found a way. You'd be amazed at how there's always a way when your will is that strong.

But one night, after Miles had been sleeping for an hour or so and I was getting sufficiently buzzed, or trying to, anyway, he woke up with a cry. This rarely happened, and when Ryan and I went to him, he threw up and threw up and threw up. His sheets and pillow, his floor, his little blankie, everything covered in vomit.

I sprang to action and forgot my wine. I held him and cleaned him carefully in the tub. I talked to him about how it was going to pass. I explained how his body would tell him and then he could try to make it to the bathroom in time. I scrubbed the floor around his bed, knees to the hardwood, while Daddy held my sweet sick boy nearby. I stripped the sheets and started the endless task of barf laundry. I was unstoppable, as we mothers are.

Halfway through all of this, a thought rolled through my clearing mind, this feels really good. I had forgotten the wine, there was no time for it. I was more concerned about my boy than anything else. And I thought about the way that life works, the way humans are at their best when they're taking care of each other in love, forgetting themselves for a while. I wanted more of it and then felt the sinking feeling as I let the truth roll its words through my thoughts...I'm bound, I'm addicted, I take no time for anything else...every...single...night...and isn't it sad that I'm enjoying vomit because it's a break from the chains, a respite from myself?

All I knew was that I wanted more of this less of myself thing. I tasted an hour of freedom from my obsession and I wanted more but I had no idea how to keep it. I did that thing we sometimes do where I almost wished for bad things to happen so I'd be distracted enough to let go of my addiction. That terrified me. After all the hard things we had been through, and how my addiction had only worsened under stress, I even believed that lie. That tragedy would be the only thing that might take me out of myself enough to quit, that maybe something really hard would distract me just enough, keeping me away from thoughts of drinking. When the reality was that anything I could conjure up on my own would not save me, only help and treatment would do that. These attempts on my own would only bring me deeper and deeper into darkness because they never worked and oh the shame.

My thoughts and feelings were that twisted, floating out of me and out of control and irrational and deceived.

Now, I still feel the same way when something happens that has me leaping into busy action. I love it. I love to care for my short people, but the difference is that I'm doing what I need to do to love them without the pull back to something else, chains clanging to the floor with each step, only allowing me to go so far.

As I near 7 months of sobriety, I move ever so slowly away from my obsession, and I'm finally starting to believe that life will truly be better if only I never drink again. I'm learning freedom. A person learns freedom in a new life, that's the only way. We start again and we're so scared and then with each step we're lighter and lighter and lighter.

All I know to do today is the next right thing in love. This includes loving even me. That's the hardest part. When I want to tell myself I'm failing, not good enough, a terribly wife, an unpredictable mother, a failure at so many things...I have to stop. I have to stop. The chains of those lies are just as heavy and hard to quit as booze.

I have to fight for myself like I fight for my boys. I need to love myself in a way that loosens my chains, knees to the floor, scrubbing myself clean of fear and insecurity. Because there are these thoughts that cripple me and leave me lonely and comparing and coming to the conclusion that I dont' measure up.

Truth be told, friends. I'm terrified about this whole book thing. I'm afraid I won't find the words and won't be able to put them in the right order. That I'll disappoint a very supportive and encouraging agent. That my beautifully talented co-author and friend will soar and I will sink. That I will not have enough time for my husband and children and they will suffer for it. Etc. Infinity.

Lies like vomit to clean sheets, covering my mind and heart.

I want to be done with them, and so I will clean house with those knees to the floor, begging. And I ask you kindly to throw up some rainbows on my behalf...thoughts and prayers that my confidence and creativity will come, slowly, as the chains of these lies drop from my ankles, left behind.

I really want to leave them like the wine.

40 clicked right here to comment:

LisAway said...

I will.

Amy said...

You were born to do a lot of things....especially to write.
You've got this!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Totally. It's already done, you're already a success, the words will come and I believe you won't even have to try, because they are right there. The book will be your cake walk I pray.

Steph

deb said...

prayers sweet Heather.

and oh how I know that stuff in your head.

when do you know that you're a good mother, a good writer, a good anything. where does the validation need to come from?

maggie, dammit said...

Every day I get a little more confidence in my writing ability, and it only comes from writing itself. Writing, writing, and then writing some more. That's the gift of the last five years of my job.

Stepping outside of this (amazing) blog experience will be a huge growth opportunity for you, I'm certain of it. Your skill and your unique story are already here--time, practice, and work with an editor will give you what's missing: confidence.

For what it's worth, I'm not worried about your half at all. Not even a little. But I certainly understand the fear, the insecurity, and every other little thing that drove us both to drink for so long.

That's the you of yesterday. Your unique experience, and the sharing of it, is invaluable to the world. Priceless to all the moms still secretly struggling. Believe, my friend. I do.

Debbie said...

I have no doubt that you can do it. I don't think any of us do.

jasonS said...

Powerful truth powerfully stated. Thanks Heather. Praying for you.

Janelle said...

Your writing is incredible. As I was reading this post I could definitely feel myself going through the emotions with you. Your vulnerability is a true gift and will surely be used to inspire and help many people. I can't wait to meet you in person at the bloglove event tomorrow.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You are a beautiful writer, the words will come. It's God's book, you're just showing up to write it. And I can't wait to read it.

sara said...

I have NO doubt it's going to be awesome and if you weren't scared or worried....I might worry myself! :)

You have a gift and a story to tell...but it's not just your story...it's HIS story. Praying you will let the HS guide you and your words each step of the way!

EmbroiDORI said...

The only way past the self obession is serving, we were just engineered that way. I love stuff that energizes and grabs us away from all that endless navel gazing. Thanks for being honest about the insecurity thing. It's just you and Beth Moore acknowledging our bondage to insecurity.

One Crafty Mother said...

You can hear your disease talking to you - telling you "you can't". And you know it's wrong.

I love that.

This book is for you, first. Let your heart and mind run free - the words are secondary to the beautiful strong spirit that resides in you.

It's not so much writing as it is opening the door for grace, as I see it.

You will soar.

-Ellie

Kimberly said...

This, this right here, is exactly what we're on this earth to learn. You've got it figured out now. Not even halfway through your life and you've got it. And now for the next part of your life, the most joyful part, where you take this seed of knowledge and tend it and nurture and make it bloom.

You ARE fantastic, and you will continue to be more so. You are firmly on that journey now.

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

Every time I come here I am blown away by your ability to open your heart and share your truths with the world. I have no doubt you will write the heck out of this book and that the words will come easily and flow freely.

Christine said...

Because you already do it and with such beauty and honest here, I have NO DOUBT that you can do it for the book.
Just keep it real, and feel the words, and they will come. And don't try to be perfect, just be Heather. That's all anyone expects.

I say all this though knowing deep inside myself exactly how you feel, and this:

"I need to love myself in a way that loosens my chains, knees to the floor, scrubbing myself clean of fear and insecurity. Because there are these thoughts that cripple me and leave me lonely and comparing and coming to the conclusion that I dont' measure up."

Brought tears to my eyes. I have the same, yet different chains. And sometimes they feel like a cloak. So I understand! But I also believe you are on your way, and it's an amazing thing.

Hugs
xo

Corinne said...

I'm setting up some rainbows and unicorns on your behalf :)
And if I didn't find leprechauns a little creepy I'd put one on the rainbow as well...

Those lies are scary. I expected them to totally disappear... silly silly me! I was told by a very wise woman (ahem... Lisa Rae...) that the key is to find new ways to cope with emotions and feelings. Ever evolving ways. And you are doing it. This book is going to help. The process. Embrace :)

Elaine A. said...

I really cannot imagine that the words would not come for you Heather. You are always SO eloquent and creative (no pressure, right? ;))

Sending up all kinds of happy thoughts that all will go well during the process...

Twenty Four At Heart said...

You will be awesome ... I KNOW it!

Mary Nevin said...

just beautiful..
especially this part
All I know to do today is the next right thing in love. This includes loving even me. That's the hardest part. When I want to tell myself I'm failing, not good enough, a terribly wife, an unpredictable mother, a failure at so many things...I have to stop. I have to stop. The chains of those lies are just as heavy and hard to quit as booze.

So so true. A sober life is truly the greatest gift I've ever come across. You should be so proud of your time and I hope you know how lovely and inspiring you are.

"Not Telling" said...

What Ellie said, yes. It's for you, it's your truth, and you just put it out there. You're a writer already - you've been writing, we've been reading (and loving it). It is only a change in kind, in the end product. It's still just you, writing your truth. Just breathe. Just write. And feel all of us in your corner.

Tooje said...

You are eons ahead of many of us, who cannot yet admit aloud worries or problems or struggles we have. I just always assume that we all struggle with something so sharing won't do me any good. Such a contradiction, of course, since I see your writing and story sharing as a breath of fresh air. Makes me feel less crazy with all the inadequacies I feel every.single.day. You will be FABULOUS.

MidnightCafe said...

Throwing up rainbows! Ha! These are sideways, but they'll have to do )))))))!

I think that for all of us, breaking the chains of self-hatred is the hardest task. And I know that for me, too, I can walk away from the chains when I'm busy, immersed in caring for my family, loving people, just as you said. It's harder in the humdrum of ordinary (extraordinary) life. Thanks for being you and for saying the things you do.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Is it normal to feel intense pride for someone else's achievements? No - that's just weird. I think it's more that I feel very proud to know you and to have this amazing opportunity to follow your fantastic adventure. The view from my ringside seat is breathtaking.

The Empress said...

Don't listen to that other voice, only listen to us: we come here because of what you have to say, and your gift to us of the beautiful way you string your words together.

Listen to us.

Casey Freeland said...

You're going to be nervous through the whole process, afraid the whole time. And that is exactly why it's going to be fantastic.

Casey

DauNae said...

Can't believe you moved 8 months ago - time flies.

You are an amazing storyteller. you are a great Mom. You are fabulous and the words will come.

Thanks for being inspiring to me and many.

Texas Gal said...

I am reading -- and LOVING -- a book about compulsive overeating that speaks so much to my heart. Your past addiction is much like my current one in a lot of ways (and one of the reasons I really love reading your blog), but mine is to food. Let me just say that the book that I am reading has rocked me to the core. This woman was born to write this book - so that I could read it - so that I could save myself... and you have that role for someone (probably lots of someones) as well. Godspeed -- it will be PERFECT -- I just know it.

MommyOver40 said...

I don't know you, yet I do, because of your writing. You are a great writer, strong and wise. You are, with a book, writing just as with your blog, but with a different product. The process, the thoughts, insights, opinions, emotions, wisdom, and fears all come with the territory of writing. Blogging may seem less personal or more anonymous than a book, but you made a commitment (to yourself and to your audience), a while ago (7 months ago???). A book is a commitment, too. You have already DONE IT. Just, now, do it again, with a hard copy. I believe in you and your amazing gift. I can't wait to see what you do with the gift you've been given. You deserve to treasure your gift, to treasure yourself, your children, your family. Show yourself and us all what you have become so beautifully.

TKW said...

Honey, if you can write something like this, I don't think you need to worry about that book. It will come. Love you.

Eowyn said...

Prayers for you.

alexis said...

you know what's funny? i think it was being consumed with caring for my son, loving him and taking care of him, that kept the demons of depression at the door for so long. as soon as he became a little more self-sufficient and every moment of my day wasn't taken up with his needs, i fell apart. it was only love for him that spared me months and months of anguish.

it's true--serving others is the best way to find ourselves. i'm totally convinced of it.

Tessa said...

Although I don't struggle with alcohol, I struggle in so many of the same ways. I sit here and I read your blog, the blog that has connected me to other meaningful blogs, and I admire you. You have so much support and it's because people see your heart and love it. Thank you for sharing, it makes others (like me) feel less alone.

偉冠儒冠儒倫 said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities said...

Your confidence and creativity are already here, plain in your powerful words.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I have immense faith you are going to do wonderfully *hugs*

Sarah @ Momalom said...

"I really want to leave them like the wine."

Oh, and you will. Maybe only in fits and spurts at first. But then there will be a whoosh. A flood of creativity streaming through you.

Like addiction you will be pulled back. Haunted by thoughts and ill dreams. But also like addiction, you will succeed. You will. And I'm here to watch it all.

Dawn said...

You have a beautiful way with words. I admire your ability to write.

Peace,
Dawn

洪勳劉耀德劉耀德華 said...

這一生中有多少人擦肩而過?而朋友是多麼可貴啊!......................................................................

Denise Marotta Lopes said...

This post, full of truth and honesty, literally brought me to tears.

I honor your desire for freedom! You recognize an untruth for what it is, and fail to receive it. When a lie tries to come upon you, overtake it with what you know to be true.

Momma-d.com

Laura said...

"I have to fight for myself like I fight for my boys. I need to love myself in a way that loosens my chains, knees to the floor, scrubbing myself clean of fear and insecurity. Because there are these thoughts that cripple me and leave me lonely and comparing and coming to the conclusion that I dont' measure up."


This spoke (shouted!) to me! I'm trying to find the courage to unlock my own chains...different from yours, but just as binding. I'm going to keep this quote in my list of inspirations. I'll pray for you...and if you feel so inclined, please pray for me, too!

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