14:07 My husband is home and stacking firewood. I could go and help, to make myself feel useful, but he would not feel happier then. I would be in his way, and feeling useless because of it, and doing more harm than good. I love stacking firewood, but not with him. And often I love being with him — but not while stacking firewood.
Then again, I would perhaps be doing better, right now, sitting at the side of my child, watching his favourite show with him, or doing some other more productive activity, than sitting here typing.
I was thinking about the stigma of going alcohol-free. There are a lot of negative assumptions or associations that seem to go along with it. Many times people assume that those who have decided to quit drinking have a horrible past, unimaginable, perhaps involving child abuse or neglect.
Yet, that is not always the case.
Sometimes, it is the more conscientious parents who will decide to stop drinking. Perhaps they did commit some neglectful or inadvertently unhelpful or even mildly abusive acts at times, as all parents have (e.g. words shouted in the heat of a moment), but perhaps the same amount or less than another parent who’d never touched alcohol. And perhaps they made up for their imperfections with a lot of unconditional love and support most times.
Perhaps the parents who stop drinking are the ones that have really, really thought consciously about having children, even long before they were born, but never noticed any problem in their lives with alcohol, until they noticed that their children were noticing the ubiquitous presence of alcohol at social gatherings, and noticed their children begin to ask more and more about wanting to taste alcohol, so they could understand why it was always associated with times of friendship and fun.
Perhaps these same parents were also often lonely, isolated from their old friends, had chosen to stay home to raise the children rather than put their children in daycare while they worked, had planned that far in advance in fact, saving money beforehand, in spite of having a university degree and being qualified to do many different jobs, so they could be there for their children 24/7. Perhaps they eventually began to feel a lack of status, began to feel that irrelevance that society seems sometimes to place on those parents who choose that path. And perhaps those same mostly-conscientious parents began to wallow in a bit of self-pity, and play comparison’s tricky game, and one day found themselves having a few glasses of wine, after the kids were in bed, to feel that old warmth and connection once associated with social gatherings and intellectual conversations and philosophy and adventure and love of life.
And perhaps soon they realized, too, even if only after several years of this, that try as they might, they could not retain that happy, connected feeling they sought through wine, or beer, or other alcoholic drink. And that in fact, the loneliness only seemed to grow. And that the side effects of that ultimately toxic substance and drug were causing too much wear on their anxious, conscientious, sensitive minds, not to mention their still-young-but-growing-older-each-day bodies, and that these consequences finally, ultimately, outweighed any benefits they had once hoped to gain from alcohol.
And perhaps each of those parents was thinking that one day, their child would face a decision: to drink, or not to drink, in a given moment. And whatever decision their child would make in that moment, would certainly be based partly on what that parent herself or himself had done. And if their child saw that the parent was able to say no, firmly and cheerfully, countless times when offered a drink, and also (eventually, at least) was able to have fun, and be non-judgemental, and loving, and moreover be one of the most tuned-in and genuinely interested and aware and contributive people at the social setting, from a child’s perspective at least, DUE TO THEIR SOBRIETY, or correlating with it, then maybe, just maybe, that child would be able to reflexively, firmly and cheerfully say no, to their own friends and loved ones, too. Even if not the first time, or not every time, then maybe another time, further down the road. And by saying “no” to ingesting toxins that happen to be ingested mostly because it’s the norm, and because of big profit ubiquitous and insidious advertising, and because of a willingly-fleeced society unconsciously riddled by a propensity for addiction, that child might simultaneously learn to say “yes” to something infinitely more rare and valuable than the ability to fit in: the ability to lead, and/or go alone, and/or find new interests and friends, as necessary, for an ultimately more free and satisfying life.
And perhaps each of these parents was thinking, too, that sometimes, when that child grows up, they might feel okay letting another person in their life stack wood alone, and/or they might leave their own kid to safely watch a favourite show alone as well, so that they could pursue those interests and communicate with those like-minded folks, from time to time.
But not *too* often, hopefully. ;)) (Something I maybe need to work on. ;))
It has been a greyish week, but the sun is beginning to shine just now. Thanks so much to all of you fellow sobrarriors out there. You are the community from which I gain strength, and which has supported me in this journey. You rock!!! Your “likes” and comments make me feel connected, and make this blog feel worthwhile continuing. So thanks again.
xo xo one Sober Tree-Lover
EDIT: WHO ODDLY USES FIREWOOD TO HEAT THEIR HOME! Yes I realize that does seem counter-tree-loving. But we started here in a lovely old stone house that had no other heat… and here we still are somehow, ten years later, in a lovely old stone house with no other heat. Working on it… or rather, Mr. Sobrietytree is, some days, while I sit here typing…