The Process of Unlearning

You know how moms always seem to put the needs of their children above their own? No? Then this post probably isn’t for you.

For those of you who are still reading, I have a recurring urinary tract infection because I tend to hold my pee longer than I should, because I am a procrastinator and also because I have a 3-year-old.

I have a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old, too, but children who are three really do not care how badly you have to pee. Children who are three wait until your bladder feels like it may burst and then they break a dish, throw up on the carpet, or run into the street.

By now, I’m a champ at putting my own bodily functions on hold, not because I enjoy it, because I really don’t at all, but because that’s what moms have to do. We put our bodies, needs, and selves aside sometimes in order to keep other human beings alive, and then we resent the hell out of the men in our lives who wander around seemingly oblivious to our reality.

That habit of putting oneself on the back burner is a slippery slope. I used to think that I was pretty good at self-care, but it’s probably no surprise that I really wasn’t. I may be good at hygiene, but I’m terrible at mindfulness, dealing with uncomfortable feelings, doing anything in moderation, and I don’t even want to talk about my health. I haven’t had a pap smear in almost 4 years.

It was gradual, but my slide downhill was steady and unrelenting, and the more stressful life became for me, the farther down I went. Before I could stop the momentum, I was a functioning alcoholic and pill-popper. I don’t know when I crossed the line between normal and abnormal behavior, because to me, it’s all blurry. I was in a perpetual survival mode for years.

Getting sober is a journey in unlearning everything I thought I knew about life. That’s like, seriously daunting. At least once per day, I get into my bed and hide under the covers and wish that I could just go back to how things were. Change is hard and the looming unknown is terrifying to a control freak with anxiety issues, but I’m stubborn, and I am going to do this.


Today while the kids were in school I watched an entire season of Catastrophe on Amazon. In bed. Without pants.

My whole body is puffy, probably because my liver and kidneys are like, WTF, where are the alcohol and the chemicals that we have grown so fond of?

I have no idea how to do anything, so I just keep doing the same things over and over. The things that I know work, one day at a time.

P.S. Hobbs & Hayworth made an announcement this week. If you’re interested in seeing THAT, here it is. Every time I got uncomfortable, I pet the dog.

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3 thoughts on “The Process of Unlearning

  1. So serendipitous that I read this post while experiencing the very things you described! Knowing last night I singlehandedly fed, bathed and put to bed 3 kids ( 2 being twin toddler boys) and tomorrow I’ll be doing the same (pulling another 15 hour day before sitting down) something snapped inside. My husband wandering aimlessly downstairs as I tried to corral the boys definitely spurred a deep boiling resentment. So I threw underoos at him and yelled “your turn!” before stomping off to become one with my phone as I calmed down.

    And here is your post! I had to laugh, even as I seethed.

    Just wanted to let you know you are not alone in your day to day struggle to be a mom and stay sane. I too have an oblivious, poker faced husband whom I suspect is on the spectrum. ( What else could cause a person to respond with “OK” when learning of my mother’s cancer?) I too have struggled with even acknowledging, much less prioritizing my own needs, especially since 3 year old twins couldn’t give a rat’s a$$ about my needs. My voice in conversation with another must be screamed over, my food must be grabbed and shared and later wiped on my pants leg. Pee alone? Never. You get the picture all too well.

    Keep on keeping on, and be sure to chronicle your journey. Yours in solidarity.✊️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit, I haven’t visited the blog in a long time, or paid much more than sporadic attention to Facebook, (and my excuse is that I went back to school in September, at the age of 43, took up time), but when I do pay attention, you are one of the people I pay attention to.

    I was very impressed when you acknowledged that you are an alcoholic. I know how hard it is, my brother-in-law began that journey 15 years ago and it was rough. You have so much support, so many people helping you and I know that not one of them (or those of us watching from the sidelines) can know how completely difficult it is. I am proud of you and if there is ever anything you don’t think you can talk about to those closest to you, I am an excellent stranger to unload on.

    This is the part I will share on FB when I share this post: There is a line that Audrey says that resonated with me. “It’s dangerous to [think] that once you’ve got something under control it doesn’t come upon you in your every day life.”

    I have struggled with PTSD most of my life, though it was only, finally, diagnosed a few years ago. The PTSD has involved flashbacks and smoldering anger that explodes into near blackout, violent rages with a lot of self-harm (and was half of what ended my marriage in 2005). It’s damaged my kids, damaged me, affected my ex-husband and countless relationships. I recently went through a program called Dialectical Behavioural Therapy that helped me recognize the danger signs and head them off. I am doing much, much better now, but I still occassionally have moments where I come close to totally losing control. And a few where I have.

    The triggers haven’t vanished. They still come at me in my every day life. There are times when I have the opinion that I’ve dealt with it so it’s done and that’s when I get reminded that it still lurks.

    It does get easier to deal with the devil in your head, I promise, but Audrey’s right, we cannot be less than vigilant in our thoughts and behaviour. And faith. Yours and mine differ, but faith is faith and it is an amazing cushion, elevator, weapon and companion.

    Kudos, Harmony.


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