Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alcohol, Change, and Loving Myself...

For many years alcoholism was a part of my everyday life. I was constantly worried, scared, sad, angry, annoyed, heartbroken, and hopeful. I hated watching my mom change right before my eyes. The mother that was deep down in all that pain, the mother that loved me, the mother that I loved deeply became more and more of a stranger. I feared for a long time that I would find her dead. I tried to distance myself from her because the alcohol mom was too hard to be around. I could not save her, I could not help her, I could not see her, I was angry, though that did not stop my worry. I would call and when she didn’t answer I would worry. I was on constant alert, in constant fear that she was going to die. That fear came true the day I found her dead. I was in shock, I stood there in disbelief looking down at my mother’s body, shaking, crying, at a loss for words. It is a moment I will never forget. Alcoholism took my mom’s life, it took her away from everyone she loved, from everyone that loved her, it robbed her of a beautiful life, it robbed my brother and I from our mom, it took so much from us, all of us.

Though the day I found her the alcohol did not matter. I just wanted my mom back.

I have noticed for the last few months just how easy it is or can be for alcohol to become a problem. I notice in me the moments I crave it, the moments when it is all I can think about, the moments I feel this need for it and it scares me. When sadness creeps in I can feel the craving, the urge, the want to drink. I do not want to feel the sadness, the pain, the guilt. The guilt is usually the driving force for wanting a drink. The guilt of my moms last weeks of her life. I did not do enough, the look on her face haunt me, knowing she died lonely eats me up inside. The guilt of Mckenna's death can be too much to bare at times. There are days my breath is taken as the image of her feet sticking out from under the television I moved pops in my head and I am brought to my knees. I feel this panic inside me and drinking sounds way more appealing that feeling all that guilt. I do not drink where I am living, so often times when these cravings and urges happen as I am in the middle of a guilt attack I either avoid or talk my self through it, with avoiding being the my usual choice. Neither is healthy. 

I also like to drink because drunk Ashley is the Ashley that I wish I could always be sober. I feel I am more sociable, fun, funny, approachable, silly (though I am sure many feel this way when they drink). I have very few in my world that I can be my total authentic, full, self with sober. When I can be my authentic self it lights up my world and I love how I can let my wall down. I was recently told (by a loving, caring friend who I can be my authentic self with) that I can be a bit rigid, not warm or approachable. This made me cry. I cried because my mind went straight to my mom who would tell me I was cold.I do not like that part of me, I do not like that people feel they cannot approach me, that I don't feel warm because that is not me. Alcohol will not allow me to be my authentic self or help me let my wall down. Awareness, not drinking and opening up sober is the only way this can happen.

This is going to be a challenge for me because I like to drink, I like the feeling, I like how I can be silly, more open and almost carefree. I don’t want alcohol to be my liquid courage anymore, I just need to trust in myself, believe that I am fun, silly, funny, and approachable sober. I want someone to see me as the warm, loving, caring, compassionate, generous person I feel I am with those I feel I can be my full authentic self with.

I do not want to end up with the life my mom died in. I want my authentic self to shine through without alcohol being the driving force.

This is important to me and I hope my family and friends will understand and be supportive of this decision. Don’t judge me for making this choice and don’t judge me if I happen to have a couple drinks. The more I say no, the easier it will get…..

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Friendship and Forgiveness

I am a very forgiving person (some say too forgiving). I am not sure why or if it really matters why, I just know being a forgiving person also comes with a lot of pain. While I may be forgiving of friends and family, some may not be forgiving of me. I am a people pleaser and always have been. I don’t like it when people don’t like me, I hate it when someone is made at me, I want to fix things and move forward stronger with friendships and family, though I feel I am unique in this aspect.
I have had many friends come and go in my life and I know this is a part of life. Sometimes it is because we grow apart, or move away or are just not on the same track, whatever the reason it happens. For a long time it was hard for me to accept when this happened. I always thought, why does this have to happen, why can’t we just remain friends even when life happens and things change? Many factors are usually at play when a friendship dissolves. It is never simple.

For me personally I feel the reason I forgive is because if something were to happen to them or to me I would not want there to be regrets.  I live with many regrets in my life and a lot of it has to do with forgiveness.

I have friendships that are very unique. I have a friend I have known since we were 4 years old. We may not talk often, but I know she would be there if I needed her and has been there for me at times that I felt I had no one to turn to for help. I have a friend I have known since 1st grade and was reunited with when we were 21 through the friend I have known since I was 4. They are beautiful inside and out. I have a friend I have known 20 years, she has supported me in everything I do and will always be willing to kick someone’s ass for me. She has been around for all the good and all the bad. We started out on very rocky terms, but I can't imagine her not in my life. She inspires me to live life and do things that scare me and have fun. I have a friend that was a former marine wife. We went through things together that bonded us forever. She flew out the day after Mckenna died despite having 6 week old twins and a 2 year old at home. She may live in a different state, but we always pick up right where we left off. She is a gift to me in so many ways. I have a friend that has seen the dark side with me and understands this grief journey when many do not. We have laughed together, cried together and we share the bond of having a dead child/children. It is a bond we wish we did not share. I have friends that are older than me that have been a huge piece of my growth and becoming. Without these beautiful souls who have cheered me on, help guide me in this grief journey, held me while I cried, and laughed with me in embarrassing moments I don't know where I would be. Despite my flaws they all still love me. I love them and would go to the ends of the earth for each and every one of my friends.

When things get hard, when life happens and things change, when there is a misunderstanding try and remember that life is short and either you or they could be gone tomorrow. If you feel it is too big to forgive try anyway, don’t live with regrets in your life. The friendship may not be saved, but it does not need to end of bad terms. If you or they die tomorrow then at least there is peace of mind that you parted ways peacefully with better understanding of each other. Talk, communicate hurt feelings, be vulnerable, ask for forgiveness, show forgiveness, be genuine and authentic, you never know the gifts that can come from loving one another despite the challenges and flaws of each other and your friendship. Love big or go home…