7+9 – sobriety, accountability, parenting, being the change

21:34. Just want to jot down a few notes. I kind of use this as a record so I can look back when I feel floundering. For years and years, I used to do this only in my journal, and it was definitely helpful, but it seems doing this in public (though very eek), has helped cause it to stick — thanks in huge part to the mutually supportive sobriety community here online.

For anyone trying to figure out if giving up booze is the right thing for them, I’d say, how many times have you asked yourself that question? And what is the deep down answer to it, that only you can know?

I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I currently struggle with addiction to words and social media. It comes with its own little trials and tribulations, and a realization that I have a heck of a lot of growth and introspection still to do.

I think the first step to overcoming issues is to be honest about them. Not just to yourself but also to others.

When I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding I wasn’t drinking… much. It was a glass of wine at Christmas or on a birthday, while pregnant; but more often, while breastfeeding. Alcohol does not transfer through breastmilk the way it does through the placenta. In breastmilk it’s diluted; through the umbilical cord hardly at all. Of course, no alcohol is always safer, but long story short, I was an occasional and moderate drinker for that 10 years of my life.

I was completely absorbed in the immediate concerns of mothering one, then two, then three and then four extremely needy and attached human beings, and in fact, although I struggled with letting go of my ability to “get things done” (I was a high-functioning over-achiever), I preferred it that way and had planned it that way. I didn’t go into motherhood not understanding modern times and what my options were. I understood my options, I was educated, and I chose to try to have children — and stay home with them — because that’s what I knew I wanted to do. None of the four was unplanned.

I know some do it differently — to each their own.

I wasn’t considered a “problematic” drinker, to anyone I know of, except to myself.

But something was bothering me more and more — the kids were growing older, and less attached, and I knew that in the blink of an eye, if the last decade had anything indicate in terms of how time had “flown” (even as it had seemed to drag on in those many difficult moments of raising kids), they would be no longer kids and they would soon be young adults, able (or at least legally allowed) to make any and all choices on their own.  I would have far less influence over them.

Now was the time that counted, if I wanted to continue to make any kind of profound difference.

Everyone is different. We all have different stuff going on in our lives at different times and no one knows what is best for someone else.

But something inside me knew that I had tendencies toward addiction, and that my kids might have it too. I wanted them to see what it was like to be around an adult who didn’t drink at all. It’s a rare thing in this society.

I wanted them to see that you don’t have to down a bottle of wine to have a good time. How you can say no to a drink if someone offers. Or to a cigarette, or anything else, for that matter, even in the face of peer pressure. They have seen me, over the past seven months, do this a number of times. And I’ve talked about it with them many more times.

When I was young, my dad, who’d travelled through India in his youth, once told me the story of a mother who’d gone to a guru with her son, and asked the guru to tell her son to stop eating sugar, since it was bad for him and she knew that the son, who revered the guru, would listen to him. The guru said he couldn’t do that, and told the mother and son to come back in two weeks time.

When they came back, the guru told the boy to stop eating sugar. So the boy did. Later, the boy asked the guru why he’d asked him to wait two weeks. The guru said, “because I had to quit eating sugar myself, before I could tell anyone else to do that.”

The story, I now find out by a quick search online, is attributed to Gandhi, who said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

My dad stopped drinking not long before I did. I’d told him that I thought he might be an alcoholic, and that I might be becoming one, too. My dad has always been a huge inspiration to me. (As has my mom, but in different ways.)

I believe that a lot of problems in the world happen thanks to alcohol abuse. I was lucky in my life to avoid many of them, probably because I was extremely lucky to have a happy childhood.

However, I was also raised to be painfully aware that others weren’t as lucky (this was my mom’s influence). In fact, I seemed somehow to be attracted to those kinds of people more than others. Lucky though I may have been, overall, my love of drinking, in my youth, led me into possibly very risky situations that could have been avoided if I’d been sober and thinking straight. And certainly, if the person/s I was with had also been thinking straight.

I’m raising four boys.

I know that I can’t stop them from drinking if they choose to, and I wouldn’t want to. But I do want them to know that there are alternatives; and that if they would ever want a listening ear, I’d be there for them. That I think I know where they’re coming from; that I’ve seen a lot and lived a lot, and that for me, sobriety is a chance to truly open my eyes and face the world head on.

I still have issues, but I’m working on those as well. More or less successfully, depending on a given moment.

One day at a time.

zzzzz… keep falling asleep in mid-sentence. But had a good talk with the Tree tonight. Stars were out, and wind was wisping clouds across the waxing half-moon.

 

* * *

~ Thank you for reading 🌱 sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com, 7 months, 9 days.

 

8 thoughts on “7+9 – sobriety, accountability, parenting, being the change

  1. Beautiful post, Nadine. Choosing to be a parent is one of the most beautiful gifts. My mother also had four children, but was never around and when she was she was always drunk 🙂 So not around. Your sons are so fortunate to have you, and the conscious choice you made for your life and theirs is such a beautiful one. I hope to one day have children of my own and show them that there are indeed alternatives. But first I must BE that. xoxoxo Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much dear Anne… and I’m so sorry to hear that about your mother, it’s heartbreaking, both thinking of you and also of her. Somehow, you’ve become one amazing human being in spite of it, or perhaps in part because of it, so in some strange way perhaps I am a little grateful to her, and whatever other circumstances helped raise you — primarily for the sake of the world, and the impact you have on it (including on me). ❤️I’m also super grateful for my children, and realize how lucky I am to have them in my life, since they are teaching me every single day, in their own ways, and because there are rare moments where all my energy seems to pour back to me in the form of their love… but to be very honest, I had no idea how much energy it would take. I regret nothing, but four is a lot. :)) Once again, I was perhaps a bit of an over-achiever in my mind (and of course my husband’s dreams and wishes had influence as well — my god, he would have gone for eight!!). Still, the only thing I regret is that I am not the person I wish I could be for them at every moment of the day. I mention this because I’m talking to someone who has possible choices still in front of them. :)))

      Thanks again Anne, your words inspire me and encourage me and you’re a great friend to me here, as well as to others. ❤︎🙏✨💗😘🌱

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Nadine and that aspect of being a role model or example has got me thinking of what we discussed regarding the example my own son gave to me. I will give it a go writing that particular post at some point. You’re children are very fortunate to have you as their mum.
    Jim x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Must admit Jim that though I wasn’t at all thinking of it when I began the post (rather, I was thinking about the bedtime/storytime routine with the younger kids, and how much I enjoy it now, as opposed to when I couldn’t wait to get to my wine glass, in the evening), I definitely did think of you and your son by the end. Thank you for your kind words, lifts me up… truly.

      Like

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