In Hot Water

It’s 9:30pm – almost 24 hours since I crushed my last bottle of wine and had the last sip. Tonight was not easy, especially between 5-8pm when the kiddos were all home and wound up. At one point, every one of them was whining or crying simultaneously. That’s when I normally reach for the glass. But tonight, instead, I reached out for help. My husband was home from work early enough, and he had no problem pitching in to give me a break. He took over homework and bath duty, and entertained them long enough for me to take a hot bubble bath and start a new book called I Thought it Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey from ‘What Will People Think?’ to ‘I Am Enough.’ It’s about addressing women’s hidden shame and the never-ending quest for perfection. It wasn’t what I was looking for at the bookstore, but it’s what I wound up leaving with since it really caught my attention. I’ve got a stack of self-help books to work through. Baby steps.

The bath water I drew was hot – way too hot! I had to inch my way in ever so slowly to adjust to the hot-tub-like temperature. It stung a little. I finally managed to get mostly-in, then took in a deep breath and held it before allowing myself to fully sink myself in and exhhhale. I did it! And it was worth it now that I was in a comfortable, quiet place and could take a few minutes to relax and read.

I imagine this is much like ‘recovery.’ It’s a struggle to get into and even hurts at first. Sometimes it’ll sting pretty badly. But in the end, it’s worth it (I hope). I quoted ‘recovery’ this way because I’m not even sure what this process is for me yet. I don’t feel like I am, or should be, someone who requires recovery, or may actually be ‘in it’. I feel like a normal, intelligent, competent, (mostly-) functioning adult who slips up now and then (or should I say, “sips up?”). I think I would prefer to think of this as my learning and healing journey, since it’s so much more than simply not having a drink.

So, now that it’s been just about 24 hours, does this mean I’ve almost completed Day 1 (again)? Cheers for getting myself into the right kind of hot water tonight (the bubble bath!) instead of the wrong kind of trouble.

Tonight, I’m praying for strength, clarity, and a good night’s sleep.  And I’m so grateful for my beautiful babies who have blessed me beyond measure.  They deserve the best of me, come hell or hot water!

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Bottom’s Up

It’s Tuesday, and the house is quiet and empty for the first time since last Thursday. Finally. All the kids are off at daycare for at least a few hours and I have some time to catch up on everything and attempt to get some real work done, which I keep avoiding. But first I need to catch my breath, reflect, and write for a few minutes before resuming my daily domestic duties and my daunting job assignment…

My toddlers love to crawl around the house on their hands and feet with their little bottoms sticking straight up in the air, pretending their puppies and barking. It’s so darn cute. They’re so cute and playful, and so simply entertained. Why can’t life still be that easy and pleasurable as adults?

The scars I have from life’s battles and the constant stress I’m under to “be all and do all” have driven me into such a state of anxiety that my version of ‘bottom’s up’ has progressed from enjoying a glass of wine or two with good food and good company to sucking a bottle of wine on my own before bedtime. For some reason, I have the notion that this is what relieves my stress and makes me feel better. Until, of course, I wake up the next morning with more pain and regret than I started with before my first sip the night before. There is a parallel in the gradual progression of how much I’m drinking and how badly I feel about myself. A positive correlation, if you will, yet with extremely negative consequences.

My ‘recovery friend’ (who I haven’t exactly admitted the extent of my problem to, though I’m sure she suspects there’s more to what I asked her) was explaining to me that alcoholism is a progressive disease.   When I Googled it later, I came across an article that began with the following introduction:

“Alcoholism is a disease of the body, thinking, emotions and spirit. Progressive damage to these four aspects interact in various ways such that a person is increasingly compelled to drink. Also, once drinking starts they cannot ‘always’ guarantee when they will stop or how much they will drink.”

I continued to read the rest of the article and, to put it lightly, it scared the pants off my … eghm… bottom!

And speaking of bottoms, I’m not sure if I’ve hit rock bottom but I do know that if I haven’t yet, I sure as hell don’t want to. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories about my brother’s darkest moments during his battle with the disease (that he ultimately lost). It was disturbing and devastating for so many.

The reasons to quit and the reasons worth living and living well far outweigh the ‘excuses’ I keep making for having my first sip each day. I want my beautiful babies to grow up in a warm, happy, and healthy environment where they can keep sticking their sweet little bottoms up in the air and wagging them like excited little puppies. I don’t want their childhood memories to include ‘mommy with a glass of wine in her hand every night’ the way I sometimes remember my mother (and always remember my sister with a drink in her thermos). There’s only going to be one kind of bottoms up in the house, and it’s not going to be my wine glass’ anymore!!!

Wine not?

Whether it’s used as a question or statement, I’m finding myself saying this an awful lot lately.  I go back and forth constantly with whether or not I should continue my almost-nightly habit of drinking wine while trudging through the evening routine of homework (yes, with a 4yr. old), dinner, baths, TV, and bedtime with my three kids between the ages of 6mo-4yrs.  Just saying that makes me want to take (another) sip!  There, I said it.

So “Why Not?” have a glass of wine to unWINEd and get through these crazy, fun, and/or stressful evenings?  Or should I ask, “WINE NOT?”  Every morning I promise myself, “I won’t have any tonight.”  Then every evening, after the kids are all home safely and at least 2 of the 3 are whining at the same exact time, I throw my hands up and say, “Why Not?” and begin pouring.  Yes, sometimes I literally throw my hands up (I’m part Italian).  From the little bit of blog-reading I’ve done on this topic so far, I’ve learned that some refer to this as a f*ck-it moment.  Yup, sounds aboouut right.

Right now it’s 10:30 pm and I’m thinking aboutthe past couple days.  Until now, my last sip was Saturday night.  It’s now Monday night and I’m having my first glass instead of my 3rd or 4th by now.  I didn’t even pour the first sip until 10pm, after everyone was in bed and I was ready to (FI-NAL-LY) sit down for some quiet time to myself.  I’m feeling half regret, and half proud that I’ve made it this far,  And I know I won’t have more than a glass or two since I’m just about ready for bed.  So on nights like this, when I can be more controlled with the timing and limit the amount, I ask myself Why Not? instead of saying Wine Not!  Which leads to some reflecting on this matter in the form of Pros & Cons (I’m a lists person).

WHY NOT Have A Glass? (i.e., f*ck it)
1)  It helps me relax.
2) It tastes sooo good.
3) It takes the edge off the hard work and whining that comes with managing 3 young kids (often alone).
4) It’s mine and the kids can’t have it.
5) I can really limit myself to only having one or two glasses tonight.  I just know it.
6) It makes me feel happy and tingly inside.
7) I temporarily forget about my troubles (or just not give shit, for the moment).
8) I have a bar in my house that is fun to use.
9) It’ll help my mind stop racing so I can finally fall asleep.
10) Because I can, and I want to, damnit.

Hmmm.  My intention with this post was to also reflect on the reasons Wine Not! to do it… but apparently I’m in the mood to sip 1-2 glasses (only!) and get some sleep.  I’m exhausted and have a very busy week ahead of me.

And so it goes…