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.