What Do You Think?
“Before falling asleep felt on my body the weight of the fists on my light arms.” Franz Kafka (Diaries)
As I settled in last night with the excitement of new adventures in my life and the peace of knowing I am overcoming fear and anxiety that has gripped me for the last twenty plus years I felt a tightness. It was my fists. I was still trying to hold on to something. I got up for a while and pondered this before I settled back into a peaceful sleep. Why was I unsettled? I began to worry about what other people think. “Will they think I’m nuts?” or “Will they think I am brave?” Cookie, this bold woman, who will proclaim unabashedly that I hate guns, support same-sex marriage, understands why Caitlyn Jenner is a hero, believes there is no such thing as just a dog, and doesn’t believe the term anchor babies is valid is worried what other people will think about me. My recovery is teaching me that I sought my worth in others. My loves, my husband, my children, my family, my friends....others. I didn’t seek my own love and my own self worth. I let this become eclipsed by the skewed thinking of an alcoholic.
When our daughter was one and a half I became a stay at home mother. I don’t regret this at all. I, along with my husband’s support, raised two extraordinary children. When I decided to become a stay home mom we had a two year old Honda Accord with a car payment of $333 a month. Our other car was paid for. We both had good jobs with good salaries, but we knew that raising our children was a real job and I would be the best CEO of our home. After trimming our budget of luxuries like the gym, the newspaper and cable TV we needed to trim $333 more off of our budget. So, we sold the Honda. It was an easy decision because we knew of our goal. We became a one car family. Our other car which became our only car was a sporty two door Nissan 200 SX. Because of good planning and good fortune we had bought our first home in the Cloverdale area of Montgomery. We lived across the street from great restaurants, shops, The Capri Theatre and near the market. We had a red Radio Flyer wagon; I walked everywhere pulling baby Camille in the wagon. We didn’t need a second car. When our son, Ben, was born in 1996 our family and our routine was in full swing. I was also active in Junior League and other volunteer activities; I planned menus and cooked dinner every night. We socialized, we had date night, our children were in play groups, we went to church and life was happy and we had a mini-van. This was a season. Life changes. Life is still happy, but it is not the same. I find myself grieving what was “my life” for so long. I put so much effort into a life that simply is not the same. I did what I was supposed to do. I raised children who left the nest and are seeking their own lives. This was my job. It is as if I worked for a company for twenty-five years and I am being asked to retire. I still get to be involved with my old company, but my job has changed.
With an empty nest brings new freedoms and yet, a new emptiness.
Today I am going to stay sober not because I am afraid of my last drunk, but because I want to see and remember all these great things God still has in store for me.