Sunday, 30 December 2012


I often process my pain, thoughts, experiences of the day when I sleep. It's wonderful actually, I sometimes wake up with what feels like perfect clarity. That is what happened this morning.

I mentioned a few posts ago that December 29th is the anniversary of when I discovered my son is an IV drug user. Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of that. It has been a long year, a painful one. My posts from the last 3 months are a good snapshot of what every other month of the year has looked like, only with more of my husband's drinking.

He has been working hard on his sobriety for a while and we haven't had a relapse in a few weeks. When he is sober and trying hard, I allow myself to be vulnerable and loving. He is a kind person, open, joyful, silly and very fun to be around. Bit by bit, I allow myself to trust him, lean on him, reveal my fragile self. We had decided yesterday would be the day that we would re-confront the issues with our addicted son. Our son was clever and avoided it at all costs, in fact he left and didn't come home until we were asleep.

The tension around this conversation was having an effect on my husband and I and eventually we just started bickering. I snapped back at him and finally just said "I can't wait for this day to be over". My husband felt and expressed that when my comment invalidated him. He in turn snapped at me "If you can't handle it then why don't you just leave  - walk right out that door". It crushed me when he said that and I left for a while. I came back and barely spoke with him for the rest of the night. That is what I slept on, that feeling of frustration and rejection.

When I woke up this morning, I recognized that I have been so terribly sad, angry, depressed, frustrated and stagnant for a year solid. I have been in an emotional jail. I have been punishing myself for why those I love are addicted. All that self-talk about "if I had been a better wife/mother/daughter/sister, they wouldn't need to use their substance". I have been owning their pain, their excuse to use, I have believed that I deserve to have to watch and live like this. It has been horrible, almost like what I imagine to be a solitary confinement in prison. I have isolated myself, punished myself and forced myself into an emotional exile. I have gained 25 lbs in a year, I have cut off all contact with my social circle, I have been obsessing about finding solutions to their addiction. I have been alone in my head and heart for a solid year.

Today I decided to let myself out of prison, I have paroled myself. I have been the prisoner, the warden and the parole board all in one...I realized that my suffering isn't an expression of love and allegiance to the addicts - if I suffer with them, then they are not alone? I have decided to start living again. I can't control their addiction but I can be kind and loving to myself. I am going to work on forgiving myself and them.

Starting today, I pledge the following things to myself:

I will eat nutritiously - to love and fuel the body I have been given. I will not abuse it with fast food, cookies or other temporary gratifications.

I will begin to implement exercise back into my life - to love and train my body back into health.

I will reach out to my friends again - they care about me and I care about them. If these friends no longer "fit" for me (if I can't be real, honest and show my true self), I will seek out new ones.

I will do at least 1 thing per day that I enjoy or in some way provides a measure of self-care. Hopefully the two will be the same in time.

I will create boundaries and stick with them - boundaries that honour my values and protect me.

I will forgive myself if I slip and don't get it right each day but I will not give up - it's time to change.

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