Month: October 2016

I broke my nightly alcohol habit and this is what happened..

The premise to this chapter of my story is that I have been solo parenting a very challenging little boy since he was a baby, for over 6 years. It has been a hell ride in so many ways and I developed early on a nightly (or late afternoon) habit of a glass of wine or a beer to “take the edge off”. There was something about it that helped me to feel more like a “normal” adult, that I was still a part of society although I felt otherwise. I was in isolation in my hell and was under a self-inflicted dark cloud, searching to connect to something or someone. As I was the only adult residing in my home with my temperamental child, sleepless nights, the stress and strain of managing everything on my own with adverse energy constantly coming towards me from my son’s dad; I had to reach towards something that could provide me with some relief, even if it was temporary.

 

So began my nightly relationship with alcohol. I am also an avid practitioner of yoga for over 20 years, a teacher for the past decade, and a bodyworker; so to some degree this always felt like a conflicting response to my life’s stress than how I choose to live, work, and show up in the world. Yet, it was where I went and where I remained for many years.

 

By the time 5:00 rolled around, after being woken up numerous times a night, putting out fires with my son all day, working, and attempting at being a relatable human being; I was done with a capital D. Pouring that glass of wine or opening up a delicious microbrew brought me some semblance of relief and I became addicted to it. The problem was, as with most substances you are addicted to, using anything as a crutch and becoming dependent on it never really serves. Coupled with my history of depression, my daily ritual started taking a toll on my ability to function. My moods became sporadic, I couldn’t sleep although my son was, and I woke up foggy most days and was barely able to function. This was not after excessive drinking mind you; it was the cumulative effect of my lovely late afternoon/early evening pour.

 

I broke my nightly cup of goodness habit and this is what happened.

 

  1. I started sleeping soundly most nights. We all know that while alcohol may knock you out, most often we are awoken in the middle of the night sweating and tossing and turning, unable to fall back into a state of rest. Eliminating alcohol has reset my body’s ability to find rest and to stay in that state throughout the night.
  2. My mind is clearer. There are some days when I am simply in awe as to how much brighter and clearer I am thinking and seeing. It is as if my vision has literally changed and my mind has landed in a new equilibrium.
  3. I am able to regularly wake up at 5:00am and find my way onto my mat and my cushion. I do this 98% of the time (I cut myself some slack on the weekends because sometimes sleeping until the sun is actually up is so satisfying!). Beginning my days with an hour of asana and meditation has been incredibly supportive for everything. I am a better mom, a more present friend, my work life has opened up, I am so much more productive with my time, and overall I feel as though I have a much firmer grip on my life.
  4. I feel authentically happy and positive most of the time! This coming from someone who really thought the norm for living was to reside in a state of being simply “eh” most of the time, saving the joy for just those special moments. The other night I caught myself smiling for no apparent reason while doing the mama dance (i.e. cooking, cleaning, dishes, bath time, homework, etc). I was blown away and it took absolutely no effort. This was simply a moment in time. There is nothing glamorous about motherhood, yet I was so in the moment and happy. It was incredible.
  5. I feel alive and inspired to live my life as genuinely and healthfully as possible and to motivate others to do the same. Further layers of my life’s purpose are being revealed in each moment that I do not believe I could have accessed while living in my state of fog.
  6. I am falling deeper in love with my son. My home has become a space of love, softness, kindness, and compassion. While I was engaging in my nightly drinking, the challenges that were present became amplified and quite often worse as I just was unable to deal well. I was trying to check out, to exit, as it felt just too hard. Now, I am fully present with my son even if he is having a moment. I am so calmly present with myself and that ripples into my ability to meet him where he is. It’s an amazing and feels miraculous to me.

 

I am not blaming myself for my choices over the years, as I truly do understand that I have done what I needed to do in order to “survive”. Rather, I am simply acknowledging the pain of the situation and the medicine that I have found for myself in coping. By taking charge of my nightly addiction, reclaiming my body, and myself, I have opened my son and I up to so much more. We have found the light at the end of that long, dark tunnel and once you see the light, there truly is no turning back.eskimo kisses

The Gift of Self-Sabotage

This one I have mastered. This one I have been actually really, really good at. This one I have a deep intimacy with. This one feels like home base. This one is familiar. This one is comforting, yet not so comforting. This one has been my M.O. my entire life. This one I have longed for in a fucked up way and I would start to panic if I haven’t touched in with it in too long. It is an anxiety that has lived below the surface, that has risen when things feel just a little too good, because I simply could not allow myself to feel too good because then what?? Then I feel good. That’s all. Then I move forward in my life in an embodied, happy, and integrated place. Then I become more and more of myself, of whom I truly am, below the surface, above the surface…all of me.

 

But, the little voices that love to interfere with that goodness quite often have reigned supreme in many situations.

 

I am recognizing, though, that self-sabotage and all of the actions that go along with it serve a purpose – they have kept me alive in many ways. They have served as protector, as mediator, as a fortress in which I have resided when the world and what was being asked of me was simply too scary. Self-sabotage and I go way back. I do not hold her in angst even as we meet again and again. I am softening to her just as I am softening to life. I am comforted by her presence at my back in a way that I am not with any other. And, it has come time to take some space from her hold. It has become clear and safe for me to emerge from that cycle of being, that cycle of living and that way of shielding myself from the scary world. Because the world is not scary anymore at 42 years of age. The petrified and lonely 7, 10, 13, 18 year old in me is safe, as I have embraced her wholly. I have taken the scared young Alison and I have wrapped myself around her many, many times and she feels it. She feels the love, the unconditional acceptance; she feels seen, acknowledged, and not blamed or punished. She feels what she was longing for all those years of struggle, of hidden addiction and self-inflicted torture. All those years of shoving food down her throat, binge drinking until passing out, throwing her body into any man’s bed who would take her – who would “love” her – who would take the pain of living away even just for a moment. At 42 years of age, I see it all, I feel it all, I understand it all, and I have the deepest compassion for the young Alison who was doing the best she could in the circumstances that society inflicted. I speak up for her now and all of the other young girls who did not feel safe enough to open up to the adults around them. Who felt that there was something wrong with them, who turned to substances to try and soothe the excruciating pain of being alive in a body that had, to them, failed.

 

Self-sabotage has been my go-to.

It has kept me safe in so many ways and allowed me to heal in my own timing. It has allowed me to unfurl in a way that has felt welcoming to my entire being. The layers that have been needed to work through have been dense and have required patience, perseverance, and compassion in the most palpable sense of the word. Doing this healing work amongst living a life, working, having a baby, the incessant demands of solitary parenting, being a friend, attempting at being a lover… is not a straightforward path.

Self-sabotage has allowed for me to pace myself while living my life amongst other human seekers. It has protected my heart when the pain of it all has just felt too unbearable. It has allowed me to take the steps backward that perhaps I have needed to do in order to regroup, reevaluate, and recreate.

At 42 years of age, I have released the grip of self-sabotage, released the need to take such extreme steps backward, and continue to tap into the beautiful wisdom that lies within and truly knows exactly what I need to do next, how to genuinely comfort myself, and where the love is…within._dsc0123