One big driving force of my addiction was my feeling of inadequacy. I never felt I was good enough and no amount of trying to “do it all” could remedy that feeling. Who was I comparing myself to? What was I comparing myself to? I think back, and I have NO CLUE. My brain is clear of most of that muck now, but goodness, what a swamp it was! I wasn’t comparing myself to my friends or even other family members, I just had this constant tightening in my chest of panic and anxiety. I was holding myself to unrealistic and frankly, stupid, standards that I made up in my own head. My house had to look like a showroom that no one lived in, I had to make dinner every night or I was failing as a wife, my nails had to be done or I was slob, workout clothes were not acceptable attire unless I was working out- on that note, I had to work out every day or I was going to get fat. (eye-roll)
Now, here I am, 30 years-old, fumbling around trying to raise an almost 4-year-old and 16-month-old girls, an 11-week-old chocolate lab, and expecting a baby boy in February. A year ago, this would have looked like a recipe for relapse. My brain would not have been able to slow down, organize priorities, and function close to sanity. I have since been able to change my state of mind and my outlook on my life. I can leave the clothes in the dryer and sit down to relax. I remember while in treatment craving to just spend time on the floor with my daughter, watch TV shows with husband, do a jigsaw puzzle at night, to just live SIMPLY. I don’t strive to be running around cleaning up for every guest that comes over, denying my daughters play dates because my house is “a mess,” turning down the butter cream cake because its “fattening,” or missing out on life because I am too busy organizing and perfecting.
Like most people, I feel like I have an endless to-do list. Throughout my day, sometimes all I seem to do is see and think of things that need to be done. I now try to prioritize and to possibly choose relaxation, me time, family time – without feeling guilt. I have also learned to ask and accept help. To surrender control has been a gift that I keep giving myself, that gets sweeter and more satisfying every time! I have realized that I don’t need everything done my way, and that my way isn’t always right. IMAGINE THAT!? I have found out that I actually don’t care exactly how a table is cleaned off, food is cooked, how a refrigerator, toys or clothes are organized, how a room is picked up, a bed is made, how my kids are bathed, what my kid is wearing, etc. Just please, someone do it for me! I would never have been able to honestly say any of that 5 years ago, let alone 1 year ago. I frequently reference a conversation I had with one of the therapists during treatment who was helping me combat the feeling of being overwhelmed once I went back home. She told me to sit down, take a deep breath, and ask myself does this need to get done right this second? Can someone help me? Can someone else do it for me? Then, pick up the phone and ask someone for help! That concept was so mind blowing to me at the time and I have consciously lived by those steps for almost 2 years, now it is almost second nature… hallelujah and thank you!
All of that fits into what sobriety looks like for me, what happiness looks like to me. Do I prefer a clean house, with no glaring to-dos while walking through it? Of course! But do I need that to feel at peace? No.
I have always said “my door is always open,” and now, I am not lying to you or myself. Come on over! It might be a bit messy- but you will feel love, there will be lots of laughter and enough chaos to leave you feeling nutty yourself!
I am going to keep enjoying life’s moments, good and bad, and just throw my hands in the air while shouting, “WHATEVER!” with a smile on my face. 🙂