It can be hard to be sober and feel like you fit in with everyone else. Especially if it is new to you. You feel like a freak, the person at the table or the party or in the room everyone is talking about. Maybe you are, maybe nobody really could care less if you have a drink or not. It’s hard letting go of the world revolving around you and realizing there are other people around that might be of some interest. Being an addict can make a person so narcissistic.
When it’s all new and you have just given up drinking that’s all you can think about. Am I right? It seems like that’s all you see everywhere. Everyone on TV is drinking excessively, every commercial is for beer or liquor, everywhere you go to eat everyone in the restaurant is drinking except for YOU!! Obviously that’s not the case it’s just all your thinking about. Now granted, alcohol is everywhere. It has really become a staple in our society. I won’t be surprised when they place it on the food pyramid. When you see a commercial for a subscription to wine you should drink while watching investigative shows on the ID channel I’m thinking, what the world, score one for the winery who partnered with ID. If I was still drinking I would have jumped right on that bandwagon and had my subscription on rush. That would be just another way for me to justify that “I’m drinking with a purpose.”
It’s hard though. You don’t feel like you quite fit in with the people you were hanging out with and your not comfortable going to the places you were going. You may have to change your whole circle of friends and find new places to go. If all your friends do is go out and drink well, that’s not on your agenda anymore. If you only hung out at bars or went to places where you did nothing but drink well, here’s your sign. The friends that understand will go along for the ride and discover these new places with you and respect the safe places that you create for yourself. The friends that don’t will slowly fall off and you’ll realize you never really were that close to begin with. This really is just a process. A life process. Does it get easier? Yes it does. Does the feeling for a drink ever go away? I don’t know? I’m coming up on 2 years and I still have the urge to drink. It’s not as strong but I Do.
I bring these feelings up because I went to a wedding yesterday. It was beautiful. The ceremony was very intimate and meaningful and I cried from the moment the minister started talking until the time he said you may kiss the bride because that’s what I do. Then it was cocktail hour. We all jaunted over to the next building to grab a drink and some hors d’oeuvres. It was an open bar, beer and wine and water for those who were not drinking. I was waiting in line to get something to drink when I realized there was water available on the sides of the table as people were peeling off the front of the line two, three fisted with mostly beer. I think it’s just normal for my eye to follow all the beer flowing through the room. I immediately go back to, that was me. That’s what I would be doing. I wasn’t freaking out. I didn’t feel the need to tackle anyone outside and hide behind the bushes and down several bottles but it’s just the fact that I think about it. Now a wedding I went to over a year ago I did feel like that. I was completely miserable and I just should have stayed at home. You need to know where you are at mentally before you go to your first public outing. If you get there and you’re not ready, it’s ok. Go home. Home is your safe place and you don’t owe anyone out there anything. You can just politely excuse yourself. I’m not feeling well, I have an emergency, my dog bit my neighbor etc. You know things that could happen. So yesterday I had a good time. I laughed. I cried. I looked sometimes longingly at the beer going by as other people passed. I will tell you like this. The best thing someone ever said to me and it hit the nail on the head. My relationship with alcohol is like a relationship with an old boyfriend. We broke up. It was really, REALLY ugly. It took me a long time to get to this point and I’m doing good. I can go out and see him now but it still makes me want to go talk to him. Then I smack myself in the face and know if I even talk to him nothing good will happen and if I even say hi I will end up in a few hours riding the beautiful swan that is so gracefully gliding across the pond behind this beautiful wedding. So I choose to leave him alone.
Once I have these conversations in my head I can start to relax. I look at my husband and my son and know that it’s not even worth flirting with that no good trouble maker if I could possibly lose one of these two handsome men. I had some fun times and did and saw people do some really funny things when I was drinking and I can laugh about them. I had some really bad times and did some things I’m not so proud of when I was drinking. If there is even the remote possibility that I might do something contrary to my morals and beliefs or lose control of myself (like riding on a swan) alcohol and I don’t mix. If I have to drink to have fun then there’s something wrong with me on the inside. I think I like the new memories I’m creating. I can remember them the next day.
These last couple of days that my Dad has been home from the hospital have been unsettling for me. I think that’s the right word. When he was in the hospital I had a mission. Make sure he had everything he needed, make sure my Mom was taken care of just generally do whatever needed to be done and it seemed there was always something needing to be done. I’m good with that. I’m good with, here’s what I need you to do and it needs to be done by this time etc. I don’t do good with waiting.
I suppose no one likes to wait. We are just in a holding pattern now. Waiting to go to the Dr., waiting to hear the prognosis, waiting to hear what treatment is available. When we get that information we will know how we need to proceed. I just need a PLAN!!! Wait a minute. I’m not the one who’s sick. I’m not the one who was told that they have a brain tumor. I’m not the one who had brain surgery. Oh, I would imagine the person that received that information would like to know most of all where he goes from here. What’s next, is there chemo, radiation, what is my life going to be like? I just need a list. That’s the way I operate. I need to know everything there is to know so I am well informed and I can plan and know exactly what to do. Meanwhile, my Dad is sitting here with this inside his body. He is the one who is going to have the hardest part of this whole process. I need to slow down and forget about my lists and being so informed that I know exactly what will need to be done each and every day. This is about spending each and every moment that I can with him and making it count. God doesn’t work on our schedule and in all my 44 years he’s never given me a list so I can be prepared for upcoming events and know just what’s going to happen on any given day. Have you every heard that saying, when we make plans God laughs. I’m pretty sure he does. A lot.
As much uncertainty as there is and I’m still pretty sure God’s not going to share his list with me, although he really should I’m a great organizer, there is one constant. This, God did share with all of us and I can write it down on each and every day of my planner and every list I have. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 That I can count on. Things may change from day to day, minute to minute but he is unchangeable. So I need to embrace the quiet chaos that it is right now and stop scheduling and start being so I don’t miss the moments or the man. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xPzTSpbYmk
I had to take a break from writing and I just got started. Some of you know and some of you don’t. My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo brain surgery last Thursday. This really caught my family off guard and it all took place (diagnosis, surgery, hospitalization) within a week and a half, two week period. Most of all it caught my Dad off guard. He went in for an MRI and found out he’s perfectly healthy in one area and by the way we’re glad you’re here because there’s a little something on that scan that we need to talk about. I suppose no one is ever prepared for that kind of news, but really? A brain tumor? There were no signs. He wasn’t having any symptoms. I guess that’s the blessing. If we would not have known until he started showing signs and symptoms the tumor would have progressed so much more than it had.
The day of his surgery we were sitting in his room listening to some music just spending time with him before he went in and I played Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin. If you haven’t heard it. STOP!!! Go listen to it and come back. It’s an amazing song. I looked at my Dad and my family in the room and those that were on the way and thought of my family who had surrounded us through out the week and the friends and just everyone who showered us with love and prayers and I was completely filled. I knew whatever happened HE is a Good Good Father. I looked at my Dad and loved him so much at that moment because he as well is a good good father and as much as he loves me, which is unconditional, and would give his life for me, how much more does my Father in heaven love me. It can’t even be measured. I want to share something my nephew Nick wrote earlier that morning after sitting with Dad around 6am when it was quiet and it was just the two of them.
“Today I sat with PawPaw in the early morning hours while everything was still quiet. I sat there and prayed for the success of the surgery. I pray for a miraculous healing and I pray that no matter the outcome that not just me, but the entire family still realizes that God is good no matter what happens. It made me realize our hope isn’t in a hospital, doctors, nurses or surgeons although we pray for them and want them to perform above and beyond their best abilities. But our ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ. The fact that HE has laid death in it’s grave and HE is a Good Good Father and we are deeply loved by him. Harper has been singing a song that she learned at church lately and the lyrics are “I know no matter what God loves me” and after sitting and talking to PawPaw I know that he believes that with all his heart.” Nick Bailey
You can’t get any more real than that. I know that no matter what my Dad loves Jesus Christ with all his heart and I can take comfort in knowing that God’s got this. Not just on the surgery day or when I pray extra hard but he has this in his hands. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
For those that aren’t close to the situation my Dad made it through the surgery amazingly well. I don’t know what this next year holds for him but I know I’ll be there with him, with my Mom and as my cousin Allison Kelley stated “although I’ve hated the circumstances I’ve really loved being around family these last few days. #Baileystrong”
When everything is starting to flow and you feel like you are on the right track and feeling good about what you are doing and where you are, you can be certain that there is a landmine maybe even more than one in your path. You can jump over them you can step around them but eventually you will step on one. That is how this life works. I say it is how satan works. Some of those landmines can be self made and some of them can come out of left field. It’s all in how you put yourself back together and how much damage you allow them to do.
I had been sober for about 6 months and I got a Facebook message from a person I had never even met before but we had a mutual friend. This person said he had a package addressed to me that had mistakenly been delivered to his house. I was feeling kind of sketchy on who this individual was so I contacted our mutual friend to check him out and he was real. He wasn’t a scammer and didn’t have $3,000,000.00 he wanted to give me from the Nigerian government just because he liked my profile picture. I messaged him back and he had a whole case of wine from a subscription company from California and he was going to drop it off to me or I could come pick it up. A WHOLE CASE OF WINE!!!! No one would know. There would be no trace. I didn’t order it. It wouldn’t be on my credit card, I could hide it. I mean that’s a great big alcoholic present dropped right in my lap. I agonized over that decision. It was just me and this guy that would know. Was it though? God would know. All the hard work I had done in the last 6 months would be for nothing. The commitment I had made to myself and my family would be broken. The trust would be gone. This would not end here. After this I would be in that hole again and probably grab my shovel on the way down to dig deeper so it was going to take twice as long to get out. After many arguments in my own head, much like having those little cartoon angel and demon on each shoulder, I messaged him back and let him know it was not mine and there was a mistake. I also told my husband so I could be held accountable. Landmines, they just get thrown out there when we least expect them to sometimes coming from the most bazaar places that have to let you know something is trying awful hard to throw you off track.
I feel that way today. I am moving forward, I have good momentum and then an unexpected bomb drops on me completely out of left field over the weekend. Are you serious? I really questioned God and said “Why Now?” God answered through out the weekend by sharing with family and just reflecting. Why not now? Actually if there was going to be any time for a landmine now would be the time. If this would have been a month ago I would be curled up in a ball in the bed. If this would have been a month ago I would not be able to be there in the midst of everything like I need to be and do my part. God put all the pieces in place. He has been gathering and moving everyone and getting them prepared so everyone can be right where they need to be for such a time as this. A moment to soon or a moment to late and things don’t work how they are supposed to. We will never be able to avoid the landmines. There will be seasons where we spot them and are good at going around them and there will be seasons where it seems like every step we take is one explosion after another. What we will be able to do is let God get us through them. Let him clothe us in spiritual armor so that we may grow stronger and turn around and show others how to do the same.
I woke up this morning and the bully was back. It’s not like he went to far and I really didn’t even know he was there sitting in my room. I woke up before my alarm and thought well I could get up now but who wants to do that. I have another hour to sleep so, yeah, sleep is your friend. Then my alarm went off and I was so tired. Just a few more minutes. I felt like I hadn’t slept, depressed, I didn’t want to get out of bed. So a few minutes turned into 2 hours. What is wrong with me? I’m depressed. That’s what’s wrong but why? I do suffer with depression and I’m on medication and have been for a long time but sometimes I think that’s an easy escape. Oh, I’m just depressed today. What’s going on with me? Well when I really search myself and try to find out what’s going on I look across the room and there he sits. Fear!!! I’m afraid. I’m afraid to get out of bed. I did something last night and frankly I don’t want to know what you people think or have to say. I told you all about my blog. I was ok the day before yesterday when it was just my family but oh my gosh now real people know. As if my family is not real. People that will judge and if I just stay here under my covers I will be safe. I can even take it down before that many people will see it. But, and as we always say in my family, there’s always a big but, do you really want to stay under the covers for the rest of your life? I do not!!
You see God blessed me this morning. With your words. I cried. I ugly cried this morning. With some of the things that people wrote and some of the encouraging words that were left for me. It was so freeing. It wasn’t a freeing like oh wow I might not be that bad of a writer. It was a freeing like I’m not hiding anymore. If any of you thought my life was just peachy, haha jokes on you. No really, it was freeing like when I told my husband I was an alcoholic. That was one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. I mean if you know Wyatt there is no turning back from that. I couldn’t just say well I was overstating that, I just need to cut down for a while, I’m just going through a rough patch and have gotten a little crazy. No, I had a problem and we were going to face it, head on, together.
We went on vacation in 2 days and boy I thought have you lost your mind. You should have at least waited until you got back to tell him. Now you have ruined your whole vacation because you can’t drink. Way to go genius. Well this genius went to BJ’s and bought those extra large hydrogen peroxide bottles rinsed them out and filled them with vodka. Hey who doesn’t need a lot of hydrogen peroxide on vacation. Not so much of a genius when your eyes are looking a little glassy by bedtime each day. That guy though he’s an amazing man and God sure gave him the patience of Job because he has not once said anything about leaving. Do you know how freeing that is? Do you know how freeing it is to have someone know you, the lies, the ugly parts, the things that only you know about yourself? It is extremely freeing and for the first time I realized what unconditional love for someone other than your child truly was and that I had not been giving it to him. Can you imagine how unloved he must have felt. We alcoholics/addicts think it’s all about us. Can you imagine how free he would like to be from being a caretaker and just wanting to be a husband? You see we need to free ourselves from our secrets but our secrets hold others in captivity too.
Someone wrote this morning the most beautiful way to describe this because I asked for some advice on the blog as they had started with a blog as well. Her advice was “remember that the biggest thing that God probably wants to accomplish in all of this is loving on YOU!! Blogging can be a wonderful romance between us and Jesus.” It doesn’t get anymore beautiful than that. If your sin is holding someone else captive set them free by letting yourself free and letting them in but especially let Jesus in. He already knows everything there is to know he just wants to love on you.
Playing house. Did you ever play house as a kid? We probably all did in some form or another. Even boys, they get roped into it by their sisters or playing with action hero’s. There is always one or two dominant people and the others have certain roles. You get the point. I’m not quite sure I ever felt like I transitioned over from that teenager dating to that young adult being married. I don’t think I ever felt like I was grown up enough to be married. Even when I had my son. I still felt like I was playing house. Just a set of steps to follow. These are the things you do now because you are married. I had this idea in my head that when I turned 30, because that was the magic number, I would have it all together. I would be a WOMAN!! I would be disciplined. Getting up every morning reading my bible before anyone in the house was up, having breakfast on the table for my husband and waking my sweet perfect child so we could all eat together before he went to work. Somewhere in there I think I had a dress on and there were several birds following me whistling as I twirled around opened the windows and talked to the squirrel and the deer. Yes that was to be my life. Hahahaha Disney oh how you tease. Needless to say I couldn’t even manage to read my bible before everyone was up and Wyatt was lucky if he got a pop tart thrown at him on the way out the door. Looking back I just needed to lighten up on myself. Nobody was putting the pressure on except for me. God wasn’t, Wyatt wasn’t and JT certainly was not. I was expecting a strict routine from myself. Routine is good, a schedule is good. Do any of you breathe or get out of bed in the morning? Yes, that’s what I thought. You can have the best schedule or routine in the world. There is always something or someone to jack knife that joker and mess up your whole week. A sick child, sick pet, sick husband, you didn’t sleep, stopped up toilet, car won’t start, I mean I could go on and on and on. Your schedule or routine is no good if your angry and yelling at everybody or you read your bible and have no idea what you read. If you go to work and you are the office complainer every day and everyone sees you coming and runs the other way. God doesn’t want our leftovers neither does your spouse or your children. I put myself under so much pressure to not let anyone see that I wasn’t doing all the things I was supposed to be doing that I had to crack somewhere. So I did. I would crack at night alone in my bathroom, only once a week or every other week. It wasn’t very often. Me and my vodka tonic all by ourselves. Baby in the bed, no husband at home, he had a motorcycle so he would go riding or maybe if he was home he would play poker on line, he’s not going to bother me. I deserved a few moments alone. I had a drink downstairs at dinner or before dinner but this one was mine. No talking, no phone ringing, no Mommy just me. Then I could step out of the bathroom and not worry about being perfect. I’ll think about that tomorrow Scarlett, for tomorrow is another day.
In all of that who was I really working to please. Not anyone that loved me. Myself. The people that love me, love me for who I am not for what I can do for them and God certainly loves me because he created me and died for me and wants me to come to him just as I am. I woke up this morning thinking about what I needed to do today and my schedule and that hit me. You have things to get done but the most important thing is spending time with God each day. If you do that as part of something to get done so you can check it off your list, did you really visit with God? Did you talk to him? Did you pray with him? Did you worship and praise him? I have to make sure I don’t get caught up in checking things off and making people see what I want them to see or I’ll wind up alone with a glass in the bathroom again. I’ld rather be outside with a water bottle surrounded by my family.
I didn’t start out my marriage drinking. I started out dating drinking. I partied quite heavily before I got married, before I met my husband and well while I dated my husband. He however is the polar opposite. He has never done a drug in his life and can count on one hand the number of times he has been drunk. Opposites attract they say. On one of his few times of drinking he decided to play mailbox baseball and fell out of the back of a pickup truck and left one side of his face stuck to the road. Like you could see his skull. When I say he looked like 2 Face from Batman that is not an exageration boys and girls. His recovery was long and this is how messed up and selfish I was. I still needed to get alcohol and he could get it for my friends and I. We were both under 21 but there was a place that would sell to him because I think the little girl who worked there had a crush on him. What did I do, I called him up and asked him if he would go get us beer. He’s layed up in the bed bandaged up and I’m concerned with getting beer to party. What does he do? He gets up and gets it for me. Addict let me introduce you to enabler. At the time I was just doing what teenagers/young adults do, well I thought so. He recovered and his face healed and he doesn’t look like 2 Face anymore. I did not see my behavior as selfish. I asked, he didn’t have to say yes. That really was the beginning of a lot of selfish behavior. It was about me as long as we were doing things I wanted to do, actually as long as wherever we went involved drinking I was usually fine. We didn’t fight much only when he had something to say about my drinking. We had moved in together and the drinking had gotten so out of control that after about a year of living together he looked at me and told me I needed to leave. He couldn’t take it anymore. Whoa there buddy, are you actually giving me consequences for my actions. Uh….. that’s not usually how this works. I drink, you get mad, I say I’m sorry the next day and we are fine. Wash, rinse, repeat cycle. I came to a complete halt and didn’t want to lose him and said I would stop. I would change and that is what I did. It’s amazing when we are faced with real consequences we start to see what we have in front of us. I did this time but this would creep back into my life later on and sometimes we think we are bigger than the consequences. We have more control, we know what we are doing, we are not that stupid. It’s like a weed out in my garden. I planted 48 tomato plants this year. I hope everyone likes salsa. I go out and look and there’s this tiny little weed not doing anything, not hurting anything and they are so small between the plants so i’ll pull them later. Couple days they aren’t that big. Now it’s the weekend and I’ve gotten busy and those weeds need to be pulled but still they are a little tall but not out of control I’ll pull them next week when I have more time. Life happens and next weekend comes and oh great these weeds are out of control and look some of them have actually taken over a couple of the plants and choked the life right out of them. I can’t tell the weed from the plant. That’s how alcohol or any addiction will work in your life. Slowly, gently but all of the sudden it will reach up and choke the life you have right out of you and take everything you love.
That was 25 years ago. I think if I could go back and tell myself to do things a different way to make things easier, would I do that? I would certainly not want to cause the heartache I have caused for the people I love. I know that I would not be the person I am today and through every one of those trials and tribulations, many of them self made, God made me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and I could not share his love with any of you had I not experienced the things I had. I feel like I may have been asleep at the wheel for quite some time and maybe you do to. It’s never to late. I’ll be 45 this year, my life is just beginning. It would really be a shame if God brought me through everything I’ve been through and all the things I’ve learned to keep them all to myself because I was scared of the opinions of people and thought I was to old to be used.