Two Secret Lives: Then and Now

Oh, my friends…. how much can change in one short year!

I think we all have two lives in many respects: the life we’re given, and the life we make.  Or the life we show the world, and the one we live in private.

I’m no different.  A little more than a year ago, I looked exactly the same.  Well, maybe about five pounds heavier.  Same hair, same clothes.  Same smiling face that I showed to the world.

But what was going on inside was very different than what my exterior portrayed.  It was nearly impossible for me to allow myself to feel any intensely uncomfortable emotion: anger, frustration, sadness…. I’d push those feelings down or just far enough away to hold them at bay – until I could have a drink.  And then they’d dissolve – temporarily.  And, oh – how I worried about my relationship with alcohol.  How I’d create opportunities to drink.  I felt so much guilt over how much I looked forward to it.  I’d promise myself over and over that I’d drink less often. And break that promise to myself, time and time and time again. How I struggled, keeping my concerns to myself because I knew if I shared them with my husband, he’d be terribly concerned about my drinking.

I finally reaching a tipping point.  A point of no return, when I realized that I could no longer drink in safety.  That I might have already done permanent damage to my health, although I had no symptoms as such – yet.  I simply couldn’t continue the way I was going.  I absolutely could not imagine a life without alcohol.  But I knew in my soul that, for me,  a life that continued to include booze would be tragically abbreviated.

So what’s my secret life like now?

I gotta tell you, it’s friggin’ awesome. I’m learning to show compassion to myself.  When I make a mistake, I own it, try to learn from it, and move on.  I find myself getting lost in moments of pure joy – just like when I was a kid and would play for hours and hours, losing track of time.  I’m still reveling in this new found, wondrous, child-like simplicity. To have a ball-crusher of a day and reward myself with a decaf and a couple of chapters of a trashy romance novel?  Who’da thunk it? Talk about simple pleasures!  And the best part is, no dark shadows in the back of my mind, like I struggled with/pushed away/drank over for years.  It’s just the best, BEST feeling to be clear of mind, heart, and conscience!

And – I feel a li’l bit superior, I have to admit.  I’ll take life, straight-up, no chaser, please! I’m so proud of myself for making this decision and sticking to it, come hell or high water.  I have this glow I feel, deep within, that I’ve done something that few people can say they have. It wasn’t easy – as a matter of fact, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I’m really the most bad-ass grandma in town.

Almost every single choice we make has pros and cons.  But, honestly?  Not this one.  It’s a win-win-win: for me, my family – the world!