The first month of attending a weekly Al Anon meeting, blogging, journaling, talking, facebooking, working on becoming a better me was exciting, to say the least. I felt like I was on a high. Pumped, proud, energized. I stopped putting off the healing process and I was SO ready to begin my journey. I had a bit of a set back when I saw my past that night at my daughter's dance class. Running into a drunk mother of two little girls with grandparents there to try to keep it all together. It was like I was visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past. It took me to a very sad, dark place. I've struggled with depression since I was in the 5th grade so I know me and I know when I'm needing to give myself time to get out of it however now that I am a mom it's very difficult for me to take the time I need to allow myself to feel sad, work through my pain, and move on. With the responsibilities of my job as a wife and mother I don't have time for depression yet I also don't have time for myself to prevent it.
I remember my last semester of college I took a beginners art class and there was a woman there in her early 50's. On the first day of class we all took turns introducing ourselves and I will never forget her saying how excited she was to be in this class. She said she had always wanted to take art classes, art was her passion, but she wasn't able to until now because she was a mother of two boys who have now both entered college so it's finally her chance to do something for herself. I remember being so happy for her and thought it was great that she was there but I also remember thinking it was kind of sad that she wasn't able to do something for herself until her early 50's. Of course in my mind I thought "I would never do that." But now, I get it. Your priorities shift once you become a parent and it's no longer about you, it's about your kids. In saying that I don't want to put off my healing process until my kids enter college because part of why I want so desperately to do this is for them. The handful of Al Anon meetings I have now attended I have been told numerous times "I wish I would have started my journey at your age instead of putting it off". Last week I had to remind myself of that when I contemplated putting my recovery on hold, indefinitely. I will not wait 18 years to become a better me.
After a week and a half I made myself find an Al Anon meeting. I had every excuse/reason why I shouldn't go but I am thankful I put myself in check and got my a$% to that meeting! I didn't share at this meeting and honestly I didn't have a huge "Ah Ha", life changing moment like I have experienced in the past meetings but I was there and the topic definitely got me thinking. The topic was "you can't force solutions" which of course I can relate to. I try to force my mom to be sober, force her to be honest, to not manipulate, to become independent, to see things my way, to admit the pain she has caused. The list goes on and on! I've even tried to force my sister be on this journey with me. I can't force anyone to do anything! Everyone has their own journey, who do I think I am? The discussion was also about reacting to others and certain situations. If my mom snaps at me or takes a dig at me I have to learn that it is her issue not mine and I have to know that it's my pride that causes me to react by snapping back. I need the last word, I need to prove I'm right and she's wrong. It's our way of communicating and I'm so tired of the drama! I need to wait, not react until I have calmed down. This will take some practice. Someone said "I can be invited to the drama but I don't have to attend" which I loved that.
I'm feeling better, more level, now that I decided not to give up on myself. It's not always going to be easy to make "me time" but I have to do it. That doesn't help anyone. If mama aint happy aint nobody happy, right!?!?! This mama is happy, in general, and thankful for what I have. In saying that, I do want to be happy in my core. I want to relieve myself from some of that pain I carry.