Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting There

Part of what I find the most glorious about being sober is when I find my way there. You know: there. Where you knew you needed to be all this time, but then there was that wrong turn at Albuquerque ugh! And who folded the map this way? Somehow your inner GPS sends you in the right direction in spite of all the "Are we there yet?" and stops for the bathroom. Oprah calls it "light bulb moment". I call it "there". About compromise? I'm there.

My life has children. And other people. Which means my life is full of compromises. And plan changes. And this way. And that way.

I realized something: stop that. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Stop. That.

When I was drinking my life was full of compromises too. Every day I drank, or was hungover, or tried not to drink and then drank anyway: compromise. Bending. Making concessions to make it work out.

I notice that my compromises usually end up with me clutching the short end of the stick and wondering what just happened. That I tend to make sure other people's or easier needs are met. That in interest of peace I retreat, although sometimes I don't go gracefully, I go.

I think I'm confusing "compromise" with "giving in".

I'm a peace-maker. And a care-taker. I want there to be happy. But I do this for other people. So, I'm taking care of someone else, or meddling mending fences for another person. But I don't do these things for me.

I realized suddenly: wait a minute here! WHY AM I DOING THIS? Why am I yammering on and on for ten minutes about this rule and why that thing? Why do I not stand up for myself? Why can I not have my rules, my way, and stick to it? Why do I waffle and waver? Why am I making my own life so hard?

Why am I making my own life so hard.

I have to laugh a little since that sounds totally dramatic.

But totally true! Gah! Why do we make things so hard on ourselves? Why do we give in even when we know it will totally suck? Why are we so afraid of hard, fast rules? And why will I put myself out for someone else, but I won't make things easier for me? Is it easier when I make things harder because that's what I'm used to?

I can hear the answers to those questions: It doesn't have to be hard. I don't have to give in. I like rules. I will take care of me. Yes! I make things harder because it feels comfortable. And I'll work on that.

Suddenly: I'm THERE.

Ready for this next part. Able to start practicing being a negotiator, not a doormat. Having some guidelines. Guidelines: rules I have and hold that guide me, that flashlight-in-the-night show me the way.

With my children: there are rules. Some are not bendable, or earn-back-able. Some things just are.

With people in my life: there are rules. Some are not flexible. Some just are. I'm still learning to stand up for myself and say what I mean and not try to fix it all. Making other people's problems their problems. Not compromising my sanity for your stuff. Asking myself "Who's job is it to fix it?" or "Is this the right decision for me?" and my new favorite "Can I really handle that?" And then listening to the answer.

With me: there are rules. Some are not stretchable. Some just are. Remember to follow them even when these new ones feel weird and not at all like the old days.

Being sober gives me this sense of pride that I never had before. Pride in the cherished way, not pride in the puffed up way. That pride makes it easier to see when I need to bend, and when bending makes me break.


  1. Wow. This question really hit home for me. Why am I making my own life so hard?

    I'm on day 1 for the umpteenth time today. I relate to you and your writing in many ways. Thank you.

  2. Wow. This question really hit home for me. Why am I making my own life so hard?

    I'm on day 1 for the umpteenth time today. I relate to you and your writing in many ways. Thank you.

    1. You're welcome. Email me if it helps you stay sober. I'm a good pen pal.

  3. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. Things are unfolding in my life that I don't understand (ill tell you about it when we meet) and I'm making it way harder than it needs to be.

    Thank you for this!


    1. Ahhhh, grace. Handling it with some. Grace and caring. And honesty. And hurrah! Our meeting is not far now!


  4. Love those aha moments (though realize I haven't had one in awhile) and how obvious they suddenly seem, though I hadn't a clue what I was missing before. Love how this stuff just comes up and happens and makes sense and does make life easier when we can stick to it and practice.

    1. Yeah, I was in between aha's. It makes me feel better when I solve a nagging problem. Even if it's a tiny one.

      Now to practice! :)

  5. Me, too and you know what else I do? When everything's going along just fine and everybody is happy, I decide I have to make it "better" usually at my own expense and time. WTF?

    I am currently babysitting my almost two year old granddaughter and I am in awe of her. She has no problem saying, "Stop that!", "No." or "Let go!"

    I hope she never loses that. I wish she'd teach me how.

    1. Gah, I'm that same way. WTF exactly. :)

      Standing up for oneself: not easy, but necessary. I'm in the beginner lessons part for sure.

  6. It's all about boundaries...and I had to make that adjustment too in my journey. There is a certain level of fulfilment when I am able to put my foot down on certain things, and also knowing when to let up on certain things. Kids, work, personal space, etc. all demand some sort of foundation and lines and walls and spaces. When I make a stand on something, it's not out of ego, but out of some other thing - safety, sense of love, self-protection, etc. It's not about winning...although it may feel like that at times. As long as I am coming to it with a sense of purpose and take things in stride as well, I am good. I used to loathe and respect those who were firm in their views and yet compassionate at times. I wanted to be like them and never could. But in sobriety, I can learn to be that person. And I am getting there, and I feel much better about myself. I am an advocate for me and where I am. And it sounds like you're getting there too.

    Wonderful :)


    1. All of that that you said: Yes! Learning that I am valuable is another one of those sneaky sober lessons I never counted on but am so glad it's happening. Glad to see you! :)