Have You Ever…?
I have. I had that moment today. I spent a couple of hours with four other amazing women at a Sober Mommies group. We talked about real things, we laughed about stupid stuff that people who haven’t lived it cannot understand. We laughed about the fact that there was no way I could sanely pour booze down the drain the last time I drank; that my mind told me that that was not okay and I had to finish it. They understood me. They understood what it was to be a mother in sobriety.
They understood that there are many aspects to personal recovery. They did not judge me for my Faith being the largest part of mine. They did not tell me that instead of going to church on Saturday and Sunday (and many other days) I should be at a meeting. They did not have a problem with the fact that outside of therapy, my main support system consists of two priests (one my spiritual father and in all ways that matter to me – my father), a bishop, and a nun. They thought it was awesome I had such support.
The things we talked about were amazing, and we all talked. The meeting went over 40 minutes and I missed my ride, so I was offered a ride home. We ended the meeting, and then these awesome women helped me carry my walker down three flights of steep stairs; offering me an arm as I braved down the last set of outdoor stairs. We hugged each other as if we had known each other for ages.
We had a connection. I had a connection. I was not alone. I need to tell myself that if I can just make myself reach out each day, especially on the days where that feels like the hardest thing to do, when I want to the least and the phone feels like it weighs four hundred or so pounds, if I can just keep reaching out, if I can share my story, if I can impart my experience, strength, and hope, and if I can listen to others and allow myself to feel that connection and to relate. If I can make myself vulnerable and take a risk, if I can open up my heart and share some of the pain as well as the hope. If I can reach outside of myself and help another through their pain and help them to and share their smiles, then truly I will never be alone in life again.
Did I mention that it was amazing?
On the way home we talked, and I shared letters and poetry I had written. We talked about our shared experiences and pain that we both understood. We talked about our pasts and how much they hurt. We talked about our healing and strengths. We talked the whole way. We never ran out of conversation. We got to my house and got out of the car. Lighting up our cigarettes, we talked some more, and I heard things I really needed to hear. I heard that I have hope to offer others, regardless of how much fear and anxiety I have. I heard that I am a fighter. I heard that I have more strength than I ever see. I heard that I am blossoming and that it is amazing to witness.
As she teared up saying these things to me, my heart broke; but in a good way. I let someone inside of it. I trusted. I took a risk. I agreed to reach out to others. I agreed to share my story. We talked about how there may be others who feel the way I do, but don’t know how to express it. We talked about Mother telling me that I really am a fighter even if I don’t always know it and that maybe I can inspire someone else who is scared to be a fighter too. I don’t know (and I don’t think) that I am all that and a bag of chips, but it was amazing to hear that I do actually have something to offer to others, even with my measly 15 days of sobriety.
The thought that my words could help and touch another was amazing and healing to me. The idea that on the days when I am afraid to cross my threshold (because that still is going to happen, I will not heal and be awesome overnight), I can still cross the proverbial threshold of the inter-webs, and reach out to other women who feel just like me.
Even if our stories are not the same. Even if are mistakes are different. There are still so many “me too” moments and so many feelings that are the same. Not only that, but we are able to respect our differences and realize that for each of us, recovery looks a little bit different; that it doesn’t have to come in cookie cutter shape and form. We can build our own programs and define our own recovery. If mine looks a little different than someone else’s – if mine happens to include two priests, a bishop, a nun, and a lot of church and theirs does not, that is okay. We all need to recover in our own way and then come together to help and support and love one another through it all.
Unconditional love? What is that? I have never had that in my life. I am learning what it is. I have learned it from Despota and my Fathers and Mothers, I am learning it from my great aunt in our communications, I am learning it from my great uncle and I am learning it from my sisters in sobriety too. The idea that I can be honest and still be loved is amazing and so healing. The idea that I don’t ever have to be alone again unless I choose to be is off-the-charts awesome!
So I ask you, have you ever had that moment when you had an instant connection to someone? I did. I have. I will. I am blessed. I am amazed at the way God works through people in my life. If changing my past -my pain – my mistakes would change what and who I have now in my life I would never do it. Never. I would not trade the people in my life for anything on the planet. Not even if it meant I could erase all of the pain of the past.
My past made me who I am today, and I am starting to see that although she needs some work, she is not such a bad person for me to be.
A Sober Mommies Contributor is most often a non-professional – in and out of recovery – with reality-based experience to share about motherhood & active addiction, the multiple pathways to recovery, or a family member’s perspective.