Its several months since I last wrote, but I felt this morning that I could post, to wish everyone a peaceful holiday and to say thank you for all the support I have received via this blog.
I haven’t posted much, partly because I seemed to lose the gift for expressing myself in words, partly because its been about the boys and family strife (and invasion of their privacy beyond a certain point doesn’t really seem fair)
I’m arriving in this festive period reasonably optimistic. I passed my 1000th consecutive sober day earlier this month, just after my 54th birthday. This morning at work I received a call about a patient of 71 who has problems with alcohol dependency. She was intoxicated at 10 am, suicidal and desperate. I felt so sorry for her, and a huge relief that this is not my fate. The stability of mood that has come from not drinking, along with the loss of impetuous decision making is an ongoing major benefit of sobriety, I’m still up and down, and I probably always will be, but the massive highs and lows are consigned to the past!
I’ve stopped counting my ‘days’ and deleted the counter from my phone. I don’t need it any longer – sober isn’t a big thing anymore, its just what I am. I’m not under any illusions that I could ever drink normally, I just don’t feel the need to think about it much.
We have been doing family counselling for the last two months, the focus on my middle son, but involving us all in a systemic therapy, based on the principles of non violence, and the basic premise that even if only one person changes their behavior, relationships within the family will inevitably change. And I’m committed to working hard with my boys to teach them ways of responding other than aggression and anger. It has helped to visualize the ‘aggression’ as the problem, rather than the person… and to help the boys learn more productive ways of dealing with their frustrations with each other.
we are not there yet, but its a good start.
I have several things planned for the next year, I’m going to Australia for 2 weeks (alone) in February – primarily to visit family, but will also get a change to look around my father’s birthplace. I have a couple of weekend trips planned – taking son3 to Paris for his birthday; and a cookery class with son2 – something positive for us to do together. In the Summer we are going to Japan for 23 days on a busy, diverse trip to introduce us to a country and culture unlike anything we have seen or experienced before. I’m very much looking forward to it.
Planning seems possible now, and exciting. I’m in a much better place and have even dipped my toe in the ‘online dating’ pool. I’ve had a couple of ‘first dates’ that have gone no further, and been reassured that I’m not desperate for a boyfriend (my life is actually pretty good), have raised my standards significantly and know what I can and can’t tolerate. I feel hopeful for the future and I realise that I am no longer angry with my ex partner, I just don’t care. Yes he did bad things, but so what, its over now and I’m moving on … this is a nice place to be. 12 months since I have seen him, and there is very little emotion left…
I’m still seeing Angela; every week I have my hour, poking through stuff and reflecting on some aspects of my (still stressful) life. I’ve learned to let a lot more go, and accept I cant change it, I’ve learned to forgive myself for past mistakes and I’m learning to accept that I’m good enough.
Slowly, over the last 2 1/2 years ( Angela has a lot of patience! ) I’ve mostly accepted that I’ve had a lot to manage, that I’m not perfect but I’ve done my best and that I don’t really need to care what other people think. That’s huge progress. Hour by hour, week by week, fitting stuff together and watching how my attitudes have changed.
I’m writing this listening to Bach; Jesu Joy of Mans desiring, which was the entry music for my friend J’s funeral. It seems astonishing that that was 6 months ago, and he wont be joining us for Christmas lunch tomorrow. I’m remembering that life is short and precious, and needs living.
So, all my lovely friends here, I’m wishing you peace, health and contentment at this festive time of year. Much love to you all