Regarding sobriety: it sucks. I cannot believe that people voluntarily feel uncomfortable feelings. It’s the worst.
Avoiding and numbing is the bomb. Now that the 12-step program tells me I can’t continue doing what I normally do in order to avoid feeling my feelings, I’ve just been lying around the house eating chocolate syrup directly from the bottle.
My mother is sick and I haven’t allowed myself to feel feelings because I have three little kids to care for and I don’t have time to be sad, as ludicrous as that sounds. I haven’t allowed myself to feel feelings about much of anything, really, for almost 9 years. But I’ve been running from my feelings for over 18 years, doing everything under the sun to avoid them.
You know what I’d advise against? Doing that.
Knowing that women have the tendency to put themselves last, I have always prided myself on my ability to make self-care a priority. I shower, I take time away from my house and my kids, I do things that make me feel whole as a human being. Except for one thing: I do not, have not, given myself permission to feel much of anything.
Here are some things (excuses) I’ve been known to say out loud:
I don’t have time to be sad! I have kids to take care of!
I don’t have time to be depressed!
I don’t have time to grieve!
I’m fine. I can just power through this.
I don’t have time to be sick!
I don’t have time to take a nap!
I don’t have time to process my emotions right now. I’ll just deal with them later.
I’ll be fine.
These are lies, all lies. No one is fine. I am not fine. I need a thousand naps and several dozen boxes of Kleenex and hours upon hours of therapy. I need jellybeans but I don’t need jellybeans.
I need to feel things because I’m a person and people have emotions that require processing. Motherhood is not an excuse to avoid this process. Somehow, I’m going to have to learn how to give myself permission to feel shit that I don’t want to feel, while at the same time functioning as a mother and member of society. Women stuff shit down and stuff shit down and then, BAM! We’re alcoholics or bulimics or shopaholics.
Today, I don’t want to stop self-medicating. I miss it. I mean, I really, REALLY miss it. But you know what? It’s been almost 3 weeks, and I’m too stubborn to backslide. I’m going to sit with these feelings that are weighing me down like lead and I’m going to allow myself the time to work through them. And I’m probably going to hate every minute of it.
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I think I started to feel things more intensely once I became a mom. It does, indeed, suck at times.
Absolutely! The more kids I had, the less I let myself feel. They are growing up and moving out and I am not ready.
It helps me if I kind of give myself a specific place and time to feel it. It keeps me from trying to outrun it, but it also helps with the fear that if I go down this path, I’m going to fall into a pit. I can only fall into that pit for so long, then I get to go back to normal life and be mom and be okay again. I know that sounds crazy. But I don’t like feelings because I don’t like relinquishing control, and that helps me feel the bad stuff and still feel in control.
Peace and much love to you. You’re doing something really really hard.
I feel you. My mom just passed away last month from lung cancer. My four year old has been diagnosed autism. It is overwhelming!! You want to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms. I am dealing with some of the same things. Props to you. Keep at it! Fake it until you make it, right?
Oh, wow. I am so sorry! How are you dealing with it all?
Love you sooo much. You are a warrior.
i have no words. Only hugs! 💓💓💓
When I read you were going sober, I was so proud for you. It is so not easy. Then I read you lost readers because you proclaimed your addiction and are working hard to get through it. I was shocked! I am not an alcoholic even though my blog is titled Midlife Margaritas, but I could never leave a wonderful, real, funny mom blogger because she’s getting sober and documenting it for all to see! You are the bravest even if you don’t feel you are. You are going through shit no one wants to go through. I’m sorry about your mom and your shitty days you are having. But I support you! 🙂
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Hi! I ran across this post in the reader and felt compelled to write you. I have been clean and sober for over 4 years. I am a mother of 3 and I can relate to just about everything you wrote. My mother got cancer and passed during my addiction. The only way I was able to get through the grieving process, was to GO THROUGH it. Stuffing emotions is only a temporary solution and I’m telling you this from a place of COMPLETE understanding. I’m the QUEEN of stuffing. You are stronger, braver and more powerful than you realize. It gets easier as time goes on and you learn different tips and tricks to cope. A wonderful life after addiction/ alcoholism is not just possible, it’s guaranteed if you take the right steps. Please feel free to write me anytime you need to talk to someone who GETS IT. You are incredible and I am in awe of your strength.
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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
This is powerful! Thank you for sharing this!
Not only did I tell myself I was ‘fine’ for decades, I taught my daughter to be ‘fine’ as well. My calm demeanor, I see now, was a coping mechanism. While being able to collect myself and remain calm under pressure has served me well in certain scenarios, it has been terribly destructive in others. The result is that I was unable to feel anything for a very long time. Now, I’m just delayed a bit in my ability to size up a situation and feel something. That delay has gone from years, down to months, now to weeks and days. Someday I hope to feel something in the moment, and be able to respond appropriately. Progress, not perfection 🙂
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All those phrases ring a bell. Im guilty as charge. The more i give myself to my family the less i have for myself.
I just started reading your blog within the last few days. Honestly I’ve only read the parts where you came out and said you were an alcoholic and you were getting sober. Reading your blog is a lot like looking in the mirror for me. I’m a mom of two amazing incredible boys and I don’t fit the description of what people in general picture and alcoholic. I’m a mom I have a full-time job and a hobby and I’m really struggling to keep it all together. I just wanted to say thanks for writing this log and it’s inspiring me to get my s*** together.
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