NOT-SO-GOOD ROADS: THE CHALLENGE TO SAY “NO” TO UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS BEGINS WITH A #YESFAST
BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
My strength is being challenged. My courage is being tested. Who I am is being completely stripped and redefined today. It is the beginning of a new year. While many are setting up new dreams and goals for the year, I just need to keep it simple. I need to go back to basics and just “be”. I cannot look behind me for too long or I will get stuck there. So I grab what has worked and put it to use. This month is the first month of 2018. It is also a month that I am struggling with. It is my first month without my daughter or my position in life as a full time mother. So, I decided to start my #YesFast in order to get back on track with my thinking.
You would think that a person my age, having been through what I’ve been through in my life, would know more about who they are than I do. I wish I did. But being completely honest, I am more lost today than I feel like I’ve ever been. Like a broken compass, I have no idea which direction to go.
There are truth’s I know about my current situation that feels lonely. I know that most people can not begin to understand why I am where I am today. Most people wait until they are a little older to have children than I did. I became a full-time mother before I was even out of high school. That was over 30 years ago – nearly my entire life. I cannot even remember what it was like to be a child, or what it was like before children. I can only relate it to when I was high all those years ago, when I couldn’t remember what it was like to ever be sober and I never believed I would ever know what it felt like. That was over 20 years ago. That’s the only way I can comprehend that there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. Because I found the light all those years ago from drugs, I can find it again with this.
It is hard to hear people say they understand what I’m going through, or how they avoid the topic with me, or figure that I am okay and wonder why I am not. I can’t expect anyone to understand. I just have to do my best and turn the rest over to my higher power. It’s like when you lose both of your parents within months of each other. It’s almost the same reaction, although people understand your grief and loss then. I feel like people don’t understand that this is tougher than losing both of my parents. Losing both of them just compounded this. My whole identity is a mess and I am sad that I don’t have a partner to share it with or parents to call and ask how they managed when we left. I’m sad and my heart hurts.
It is a new year – a very new year. I thought I was preparing for this day, the day my last kid left. I am now realizing there is no way to really prepare for this. I know that I do not want to drink today. I know that no amount of drugs or alcohol can make this different. I am already so numb. As I write this, I know that next year, it will not look this way. It will look nothing like I expected either. I just have to hold on until it does. Change and pain is my soul stretching – its me growing once again. I have to concede to my inner most self that this is what life is – loss and continual growth. I think I’m becoming a pro at this loss thing, at least I will be before I know it.
So, today I am deciding that even in my grief, I will make my small attempts to clear my life of harmful behaviors. In doing so, I will not allow myself to go down any not-so-good roads as Dr. Suess would say in his book, “Oh, The Places You'll Go”. I will say “No” to self-defeating actions, thoughts, and behaviors that are standing in my way and could potentially lead me to the bottle or worse. Each day, it will be one small feat, but a huge one for me today. It helped last year when I did my #YesFast. I know it can help again. So, today I am saying “No” to letting myself get lost permanently. I will not say “Yes” to my defeat. I am hopeful. I know I have survived so much that I can survive this too. It just doesn’t feel like it right now. I know that this too shall pass. I have to believe that. It has kept me here this far.
Now, while I know that this is a blog unlike my others, it is my truth and my truth has kept me sober all these years. It is the one thing you can count on with me in my writing. I like to believe its why you have stayed with me this long and grown to expect from me. I know you have followed me this far in my journey. Right now, my journey is changing. I hope that you stay with me long enough for both of us to see what it looks like to rise from my cocoon. I know that the beautiful butterfly waiting to emerge will in time reveal itself and what a wonderful day that will be. Together we can find out how to make it through those times in our life we thought we would not survive and do it without disappearing into a drink or drug or worse. Together we can watch the journey of evolution in recovery and the victory that comes as a result.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
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