Last night I felt like a huge witch lady and not a cool witch, like a mean, nasty wicked witch kinda situation. I was telling Ben that it wasn’t FAIR (foot stomp) that I had finally figured out how to take care of myself, gotten sober, made good choices left and right and now, here was a thing that I had no idea how to do, and that I kind of feel like I suck at: step-parenting. I did all of this stuff, to get rid of stress, and then life was like “good job, here’s something else really challenging” and I KNOW that it’s this beautiful gift and I’m probably not ruining their lives with my presence, but it sure feels like everything got harder. “I’m out of patience and don’t know how to get more”, I said, as I fell asleep.
There has been this weird part of recovery for me where I feel like I should be able to handle everything, because sobriety makes me feel like I have super power. If you compare, for example, this morning, Saturday morning, with a morning while I was drinking, it’s night and day. My stomach didn’t hurt when I woke up. I didn’t worry that people were mad at me. I didn’t start trying to piece the night together. I drank coffee in bed. I made pancakes. Other things were different, and not because of sobriety. I found a teenage boy in the guest room, and kicked him out so my step daughter could do the Saturday morning cartoon thing. This house is just strewn with teenage boys. That’s different. I did laundry for other people. That’s new. Dishes, throwing stuff into the closet, taking care of our zoo of pets. I like these things, but it’s different. I wouldn’t be here, in this uncharted land, if I had kept drinking. But it’s also harder. Not hard like waking up on the other side of town with a pounding headache realizing you texted your ex and spent all of your extra money at the bar. This is hard like I snapped at the 10 year old last night for her attitude and now I feel like a Disney stepmother and I’m worried that she hates me. Old me is like “I don’t even understand that hardship sorry bye”.
Sobriety doesn’t fix everything. It puts you back on solid ground so you can take on the world. I get pissed when a new hard things comes up because I’m like “but I’m super and can handle everthing unless the world just keeps giving me harder and harder things which is appears to be doing wtf”.
This sober life is a new adventure. It’s like a whole other level in a video game (just read Ready Player One, and got a little obsessed, pardon me) and it’s easier and harder at the same time.
Maybe it’s not becoming a stepmom of four kids that is your hard thing. Maybe it’s that sobriety gave you the strength to get a new job that drunk you would never have been able to handle. Maybe you’re planning a trip you never could have done before. Maybe you’re going to a wedding today, and you aren’t going to drink, and it’s hard as hell. But you’re doing it because you can now, and you know it’s forward motion. You know it’s positive and you know you’re my hero for doing it. If you don’t know, let me tell you: you’re my hero.
Super powers don’t always look like winning. Last night, my super power was just not drinking, being willing to talk when I wanted to scream, and going to sleep. It was waking up with the ridiculously simple answer to my question of where patience comes from and how to get more: sleep. Coffee and pancakes. The realization that your job is never to please people, just to love them. I don’t have enough energy to please people because it’s not a renewable resource. The other stuff, I have an almost endless supply. Because I’m sober, and I’m on a level playing field for once. It’s still hard. It’s just not impossible now.
Stay tuned for my next incredible feat: college sober. Grad school, friends. Pray, send vibes and spells. One more week til that adventure begins. I’ll keep you posted.
What’s your new hard thing that came at you once you kinda got your shit together? Tell me all about it.