After I finished court-ordered recovery, my family asked me to move in with my grandma, to help take care of her as her dementia progressed. I jumped at the opportunity to be able to help my family and get to know my grandma a little bit better. I had been praying for months on a way to make things right with my grandpa who had already passed. Taking care of grandma was my answer to these prayers.
Grandma lived in the perfect house to start over again with my boys and was in the best school district in the county. It 20 minutes away from my hometown, which put some distance between me, my father’s bar, and that whole bar lifestyle my dad and sisters were living. The cherry on top was that I was going to be able to make payments on my grandma’s car since she could no longer drive.
After a few rough weeks getting settled in, I felt as if I’d been treading water for days and could drown at any minute. I didn’t understand why I felt so overwhelmed until I did a feeling download in my journal.
Reading in my own handwriting I saw all the warning signs of relapse.
Panic set in, along with hopelessness, and self-pity. I found myself frozen in fear, I was sinking fast by feeding into other people’s expectations and opinions of me. I kept sinking lower and lower until I felt as if I couldn’t breathe.
Finally, some light shone through and I remembered that I had a toolbox full of tools that I could use to help me pull through situations just like this. I took out my textbook of recovery and starting skimming through the pages. I landed on one that talks about us having to accept the world and people in it just as they are. Every struggle has merit. After some reflection, I called my sponsor, and then a support group member to see if she wanted me to come gets her for a meeting that night.
I used the tools that were given to me, and I started to feel better.
I took from this whole situation some valuable life in recovery lessons.
- Tools don’t work themselves. I must swing the hammer to get the nail to go into the board.
- Other people’s opinions and judgments of me are none of my business. It’s best to look at them but there is no need to take them as fact.
- Setting healthy boundaries is vital to my survival. I need to consistently check in with my internal self and not be afraid to make necessary changes, even if people I care about don’t understand my decisions.
- Feelings and moods are temporary. Nothing is permanent unless you make it so. It’s hard not to be positive when you are finding gratitude and choosing happiness instead of feeding into your negative thoughts, this generates hope, and a start to a solid foundation to build upon.
I must remind myself daily that even though life makes me want to throw up my white surrender flag, the blessings I have today are worth every fire I have to walk thru to get there.
This post was submitted by Brooke McKinley.