Tuesday, July 16, 2013

(Not) Crossing the Line

Yesterday was a two bowl of ice cream after dinner kind of day. With a big bowl of marshmallow oaties after that to crunch down the well of sadness.

Well, that's pitiful, ain't it?

Actually, I spent most of yesterday trying not to cry at work, then crying some at my women's meeting. Then a little more in the parking lot after with my dear friend Amy. But then there was a little dinner to make, and my folks were here so that was good. The kiddos went to be without complaint- youngest singing himself to sleep, oldest with contraband video game buried under the covers. I didn't have the energy to have him not to, or to read youngest a story. It was a bury your head and eat kind of night.

It should have been a connect and feel some love kind of night. Sometimes what we want (ice cream) isn't really what we need (love).

I'm reading another great book and the last bit I read was about boundaries, and also compassion.

So I started thinking about setting boundaries for the kids, and how I am really really bad at that ("second chance queen" might be my nickname, or maybe "don't do that, oh well it's OK") and how (F.O.B.) (flash of brilliance) I am totally bad at that for me too!

And then I started wondering about who is making the rules around here anyway?

It seems like I have one really really good hard fast rule: DON'T DRINK.

And then things get a little muddle-y and cloud-ly and I sort of don't really have any other rules. Well, damn.

I feel like was kind of ruled-to-death as a child, so I'm really glad to break all rules and stomp over all the fences. As in "Ha HA! You can't tell me what to do! See? I just did just what I wanted. So THERE!" I practice extreme boundary breaking. My drinking was my biggest boundary buster: "I can drink as much as I want and you can't stop me!" And then my body wouldn't even stop me by throwing up or passing out or making the hangovers so so terrible that I never wanted to drink again. (well, then again on the hangover part.....)

But, wait. Boundaries are good. Without them we'd be all over the place. And I like rules, funnily enough. I like limits, and reasons. Ones that keep me sane.

Boundaries can also be really friendly ways to not have to have the morning mental beat down. I am so much better at not having it, but I still wake up and do a kind of inventory: "Oh. What time is it? What day is it? Oh. I ate two bowls of ice cream last night. And that cereal too. And I cried all day. And didn't even really look the children in the eye. Oh. well, shit."

And that is not the way to wake up. Boundaries can be a good way of preventing regrets. If I'd had boundaries (simple rules for myself- truths that stick for the way I know I like to live my life) then I.....well, I can't really say. But for me, for at this time in my life, some boundaries seem like a pretty good idea.

Things like:

Not checking Facebook and email fourteen times after dinner. How about not at all? The computer has become a big time suck for me. It kind of gets in the way of me connecting with the real people and dogs around here. I check every morning- sometimes I'm on it for a few hours in the morning! That is enough.

Or not eating after dinner. Have a little dessert after dinner, but don't take ice cream and sesame sticks and bowls of cashews up to snack on in bed. That feels like I'm taking care of myself, but it's really sabotaging me mentally and physically in an irritating way.

Those two are good.

Oh, and one more. When discipling the children ( That is a total typo that I like that better than "Disciplining") stick to it. Be fair and firm. I will disciple them. Spread the word about manners, and not calling your brother a stupid poop head.

I'm going to start with the second one. It's OK for me to try the other two out, but for this week the only really really good hard fast rules are these:


Cool. Simple Boundaries. Little Life Rules. I think I'm finally ready for some. Boundaries can help prevent regrets. Life management. Not everything is OK. And that is.....OK. :)


  1. Oh sweetie pie. Firstly, big hugs and comforting hair strokes. As you rightly said to me, the first year is hard, there is emotional fallout, it is ok to be feeling crappy sometimes. It is even ok to be eating two bowls of ice cream after dinner on those sometimeses. So long as it's not every day. Sometimes is just fine.

    I am reading a book about career advancement stuff and it talks about setting standards for your business and knowing that not all jobs/clients will meet them but how it's great to have those standards in place so that when you *are* hitting all those marks you'll know - and feel great - and so that you can evaluate potential jobs/projects/clients against them from the start. It seems to me this applies just as well to life. Standards for our life. Standards that we won't beat the shit out of if we don't meet them but we will know they're there as what we're striving for and feel good when we are.

    Little rules to start, yes. And when all else fails - ice cream. I'm a big believer in the power of ice cream actually.

    Loves loves love to you. xoxo

    p.s. Also glad awesome Amy is still around. Still remember your first post about meeting her - so cool. See, remember that for putting it out there to the universe and it happening? You. Have. The. Power.

    Lilly x

    1. And cookies! Don't forget the power of cookies. :)

      Much love to you! xoxoxo

      And yes! Awesome Amy is still around. It feels like we've been friends forever. She's a keeper.

  2. Boundaries...man that is something I can relate to. Lack of, mostly. I could let anyone do anything to me because I had no boundaries. I didn't know what "no" meant for a long time. I let others stomp on me because I stomped on myself. I taught people how to treat me, and it wasn't good. And then I wondered why I had such low self-esteem.

    Creating boundaries for self and others is great, and like you said, avoids regrets or resentments later. Learning to say "no" to someone or yourself (no snacks!) brings a sense of self-respect and respect from others, in a good way. Children learn to create their own boundaries (my folks weren't good at boundaries / rules) and there is a clear line in the sand, rather than a fuzzy, murky one.

    Enjoy the ice cream...we have those days. I certainly do :)


    1. Yes, boundaries for me and everyone else. I ended a few friendships after I got sober because of boundaries. And the kids are always happier when the rules are clear. I forget that while I'm making them happy, and then when they straighten right up I remember that rules make us ALL happy.

      I'm still working on standing up for myself. But much, much better.

      Cheers Paul!

  3. I know you already know this but days like you had are totally normal. I remember thinking, "what the hell is wrong with me?" and "Why can't I drink? I wasn't really that bad." And then there's the big one, the one where I'd see people on TV drinking or my friends drinking and I'd get all jealous/envious/pissed/depressed and I'd cry... a lot. My adult way of throwing a great big temper tantrum.

    But I stuck to that one rule...I didn't drink. (I did eat too much sugar which I'm battling now so I like your second rule for the week.)

    I didn't drink and I'm the happiest I've ever been. And I believe you will be too.

    Email if you need to vent...I'm around.


    1. I don't really ever want to drink. But I do want to go away sometimes. Does that make sense? Sometimes all this life is so.....life-y.

      Thank you for all your support. It really helps.


  4. Hi Amy, I could comment here about boundaries/ice-cream/parenting but really all I want to say is, Amy.. you are dealing with shit... you are not drinking and numbing and avoiding, you're actually being brave and strong and dealing with shit in the raw - sober! So while it seems it's some form of failure for having shit to deal with like am I eating too much sugar/being too soft on my kids/spending too much time on the computer.. really in amongst all these concerns is the absolute joy that you are dealing with life sober and I just think that's fantastic. You're doing it! This is living sober baby and you are doing it! Big huge ups to you my friend xxx p.s. I'm sure there is nothing better than hiding a game in your bed as a kid and feeling like you are getting away with delightful murder!

    1. Thanks Mrs D- I do think the ice cream (2 bowls, and then a bowl of sweet cereal) is avoiding though. Bouncing up to a few hundred pounds isn't going to make it better, that's for sure! :)

      Thanks for the reminder to give myself credit- I forget that a lot.

      He tries to sneak that game up each night, and then wonders how I know. Last night I told him he should see his face: wide eyed and trying to look "normal". I told him to never become a good liar- just ask if it's OK. Wow! The relief on his face was priceless.


  5. I remember guiltily writing about all the time I spent on my phone -- playing games, checking FB, email, things like that. And more than one commenter pointed out those distractions have their place too. It's so hard the first year. If now isn't the right time to cut them out or cut back, it doesn't mean it will never be. The not drinking rule is hard but more important than any other. So thankful for how the rest seems to fall into place over time.

  6. Hilarious as I sit here computing around while the groceries lounge in their bags. The grocery, 2 boy children, and five o'clock don't mix. Deep breath. :)

  7. Thanks for the tip about the book "The Gifts of Imperfection"!

    I have realised that after I stopped drinking, I automatically found something new to be addicted to; Facebook, TV, sugar, comfort eating, playing computer games, drawing. Something! God forbid that I would exist without any addiction, but I WILL get rid of them one by one and hopefully I have another 40 years to do so ;-) I recently gave up Facebook, and that was a great relief. Sure, I miss it sometimes and have no clue what people are up to. But Facebook is not worth my valuable time. And if I want to know what people are up to then I can just text them or even MEET up with them hahaa

    I think you are doing so well! Although it's not fun to see people cry, everyone should be happy! But I think that you are strong letting those tears flow, it sure helps.

    Remember, you're not alone - take care!