Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finding Balance and Living Sober

I visited my family this week, which more often than not increases my anxiety.  Honestly, I feel a bit (sometimes a lot) crazy afterwards even when all I do is silently witness the dysfunction and not necessarily take part in it.  Although, maybe witnessing it is a part.  Sooooo...

Should I stop going to nieces' and nephews' birthday parties, spending the holidays with them, thereby denying my children the fun they experience in seeing their grandparents and playing with their cousins?  That answer doesn't feel right. 

Sometimes my husband takes the kids out to eat and I do not feel like going whether it be because I am tired, don't want to sit in traffic or deal with the crowds and waits or like this week, I didn't want to go out in the freezing cold weather.  I suggested we order in but they wanted to go out.  I used to suck it up and go with them thinking that it was the "right thing" to do...telling myself that I was not a very great mother or wife to choose not to go out to eat with my family.

Now days, I rarely go if I truly do not want to go.  For the most part, they are alright with this.  I know they would rather me go with them but they understand that if I give more of myself in terms of time and energy than I physically, mentally, and emotionally can for too long or too often, I will become irritated, over-fatigued, anxious, and depressed.

God has revealed these limitations to me over the past 2-3 years and unfortunately, they have been extremely debilitating.  I am finding however, that the more I accept myself and my limitations and love myself despite my limitations, the more I am able to actually do, be, and give in ways that are - I now believe to be - God's will. 

I wonder if what I referred to as "debilitating" - meaning that I could no longer do what I had been doing for so many years - would be better stated as, I just was not doing what God wanted me to do (even though the things I was doing weren't inherently unhealthy.) 

I think God's plan for me just changed and I fought it tooth and nail.  Change is hard for me, it always has is completely fear-based. 

In my experience, whenever I am not in line with God's will, I am usually anxious and/or angry.  And whenever I am in line with God's will, I am at peace.  Someone sitting around the tables once visually demonstrated how she feels while not in line with God's will by tensing up and holding on to the edge of the table with a death grip.  She went on to say that when she is in line with God's will it feels like, "Ahhh" and let out a big relaxing sigh, relaxed her shoulders, closed her eyes and smiled.  I feel that way, too.

Fighting, denying, being angry about who I am, how I am made, what is good for me and not good for me in terms of my spiritual state, must have taken so much energy from me!  Now that I am (on most days) no longer fighting, denying, and being angry with who I am, I feel myself healing and getting better but, as I stated above, not in a way that allows me to go back to doing the activities I thought I should be doing like working, volunteering time I don't have, socializing needlessly with acquaintances, and signing the kids up in too many activities. 

Rather, I find myself being able to be a more patient and loving mom, a mom that has the time and energy to sit down and get eye-to-eye with her children and really listen to them, a mom that can say, "Sure, you can have a sleepover with your friends at our house" and really mean it and not freak out once I have a couple of eight year old girls giggling until two o'clock in the morning. 

I also find myself being a more fun-loving wife and an equal partner in my marriage instead of being either a total control freak or a helpless victim unable to even get out of bed in the morning. 

What would usually happen is I would go, go, go because I felt guilty about not being able to contribute financially to our household and then I would crash and not be able to do anything around the house or with the kids for days or weeks at a time.  This would compound my guilt and once I was back on my feet, the whole cycle would start all over again. 

Why is it that alcoholics in particular tend to have a difficult time finding the middle ground on most things?  (a rhetorical question, but feel free to share any of your personal experiences regarding this thought.) 

Thanks for reading and I wish you a happy, joyous, and well-balanced week!


  1. Glad to read this today. I know the feeling of finding the balance of participating as I can and finding that as I'm inspired not to, and finding that I receive more energy and the ability to participate more fully at times by choosing not to always be with my family based on my idea of good wife/mom, allowing the kids and dad to be together and present for each other allowing dad to deepen his connection to the kids and kids to deepen their relationship with dad.. a really good thing!

    :) And what gifts you've been given in that realization!

  2. Finding a balance is pretty much impossible for me. My days/weeks are crazy. However the one area that now does stay balanced is my soul. I have peace even in the middle of chaos because the foundation is strong. I find that I can get through the most horrible of days because I have HP and my program. So I stopped looking for balance and I deal with what happens. You can have peace in the midst of all life's chaos...just keep your foundation strong :) hugs....

  3. Namaste my sister. If I may suggest a closer way to finding God in your life. Our thoughts, feelings and emotions are the bricks which construct our reality. I find by paying close attention to my thoughts I can better steer my reality. This blog for example.

    In this blog you express you continued struggle with bipolar and AA issues. You suggest that you are caught in a cycle whereas you peak and slowly sink. You further mention that you have had much success by redefining your limits.

    Everything you think and write will come true. You are the master of your reality. You have just informed the universe that struggle is your reality. As long as you maintain the image in your heart of a life of struggle, the universe will give you struggle. Picture in your mind your best days and know that each moment you have the capacity to reach for this as a chosen expression.

    Rome was not built in a day, so be gentle and loving with yourself.

    In Lak' esh, my sister, may your GodSelf think...

  4. This held some good reminders for me. Thank you :)

  5. Christopher,

    I appreciate your comment and I have considered it at length. I agree that I have a "thinking" problem. Alcoholism and mental illness are its symptoms.

    That being said, my recovery program, others, and God are teaching me how to change my thinking, truly love others, and grow closer to God. This is my solution. I was not taught how to do these things as a child. In fact, I was taught quite the opposite and until meeting other people like myself in recovery, didn't even know that there were other options.

    I write about my struggles and my solution on this blog solely in the spirit of love and service to those out there who are suffering. I describe my struggles so that others may be able to identify with them. I describe the my solution so that others may benefit from my experience and possible gain some strength and hope that may help them along their own journey. I do not assume that what works for me is going to work for others but at least they may realize that they have other options. People in recovery do this for me and I am called to "pass it on."

    I wish my transformation could happen over night. However, like you said, "Rome was not built in a day" and I have a wonderful spiritual advisor that reminds me all of the time to "be gentle and loving with myself."

    Thanks again.


Thank you for sharing!