I'm back after a week with limited wifi and privacy because I was a chaperone on a Ski Trip with students. I spend the week with 9th graders snowboarding and supervising evening activities and in between events devouring the books Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp, Almost Alcoholic: Is My (or loved one's) Drinking A Problem? by Joseph Nowinski & Robert Doyle and started, After the Tears: Helping Adult Children of Alcoholics Heal Their Childhood Trauma by Jane Middelton-Moz & Lorie Dwinell. So while I was not blogging, I was doing massive reading and diving into the healing part of sobriety. I cried, I felt understood & exposed, connected, lost, scared, angry and empowered at different times of the week. While a physical week of beautiful mountains and fun routines, it was emotionally exhausting and I felt a bit haggard by the end of it.
After reading the first two books, I had this knee-jerk reaction to a trigger and concluded I needed to get a divorce. What the hell? That panicked feeling lasted about 12-hours until I listened to The Bubble Hour episode on Adult Children of Alcoholics and was like, "Fuck! That is how I react when I'm scared-I cut people and emotions out and start planning the logistics of my exit strategy?!!?? " I backed away from the divorce cliff and tried to peel away at the armor protecting my emotions. I have an instinct to "go-go-go" when I have dark emotions: drink it down when I can or distract myself with work, busyness, travel, task-completion...you name it to avoid feeling those dark feelings. I don't need a divorce, I need to work through my emotional baggage that I carry around, and the Bubble Hour led me to a book that is a good starting place.
I started reading After the Tears and I have been a weepy mess ever since, as I relate to the stories and the ugly traumas of my childhood surface because there isn't a shield of booze holding them down. My knee-jerk reaction to strive is a common reaction for people with a traumatic or alcoholic childhoods.
I came home and told my husband everything and we had a big heart-to-heart about our marriage, our roles, our strengths and our areas for growth. I don't know how he can love me sometimes-I'm a mess, and yes that is a common feeling of those who grew up in an alcoholic home: not feeling worthy of love. Along with the guilt. And the fear of dependency. And fear of intimacy. And the discounting and minimizing pain. And the knee jerk reactions to push away the one person who both knows me and rolls with the best and worst parts of me. Ugh, it tears me up. I have such gratitude for my husband, mixed in with the fear and shame I carry.
What a week.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp