AL EXANDRA HART L EY - L EONARD
There is an app on my phone called “TimeHop'' and while it is filled with flashbacks and treasures from times gone by, it is also a bittersweet gut punch from hell. To be honest with you, I don’t even know why I keep it on my phone. More often than not, I am bracing myself as I scroll through 3 years ago, 5 years ago, 7, 8, 9…..seeing my sons as babies and toddlers. I can still hear that little voice in my mind. I can practically smell his little head, now 10 years old and sweaty from playing backyard baseball and fighting with his brother. Of course it makes me ache for my kids to be little again, if only for an hour. I’d love to be able to go back and hold them again at that age. I’d love to tell that mom (me) that it was going to be ok, and that she deserved a nap and honestly so much of what she was feeling was normal and unavoidable. It’s a special kind of ache for me because I want to be able to go back to those babies as the me of today; as sober me. As the person who has learned to appreciate the little things in my life that make it so unique and special. I want to go back without that cloudiness I can see in my eyes on the rare occasion I allowed a photo. I have to fight the shame that wells up. Was I drunk all the time when I was taking care of my little kids? No - not by a long shot. I genuinely believe I was a great mom, and I know I’ve always done my best, but the truth is I feel sad that with less booze (and let's face it- more sleep) perhaps I would have been able to access the joy of that time of life more. It almost feels like I missed the opportunity to imprint it deeper into my life experience. My husband and close friends who I have expressed these feelings to, always come back with a lot of reassurance and point out that early motherhood is a blur for EVERY woman, no matter what. They say that I am beating myself up unnecessarily. And….maybe I am, but the thing is I know now. I know how different I feel. And I want THIS version of me to get to go back and enjoy those babies for a second. When I was first getting sober, this was all I ever thought about. The early day demons were real and very loud. When I laid in bed at night with my (then) 5 year old, I heard a distinct voice- distinct because it was some kind of cruel version of my own saying things like “You’ve missed it. You'll never get the time back. You threw away their childhood. You are a terrible mother. You might as well drink because that time is never coming back.” Luckily with time, those voices dissipated. Eventually when I found like minded people, I would learn how very common those regretful feelings are.
I finally had other people who had been “ as bad ” as I was ( or better or worse or just the same - it didn ’ t matter - they understood ) tell me that I really WAS being too hard on myself , and more importantly that it was pointless to do what I was doing because I was robbing myself of the time I was in *now*. What is the point of fixating on the time I was still drinking ? I was sober now . I was appreciating it now . Aha …... ENJOY IT - YOU HAVE EARNED IT . Got it . And this is true . I start with this story because I want you to know I see you . I have been there .. No matter what it is , big or small , I totally get why you are having a hard time letting go of it . It is both like a security blanket , this story you have , and like a giant ball of PROOF as to why you are struggling now . To pretend it isn ’ t there doesn ’ t even seem like a possible exercise , but all I can say to that is - please try . If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result , then letting go of the “ Same thing ” you keep focusing on that is preventing your freedom or happiness , should be at the top of your list . I recently went looking for an action plan on “ letting go of the past ” for an Hola Sober meeting that I hosted because I know that people love actionable steps as much as I do , and I really think that sometimes a “ to - do ” list can be a comforting thing to have in our pocket . There are many wonderful articles , blogs , and lists out there , but I really liked what I found on Tony Robbins website . Love him or not - Tony Robbins has talked to an insane amount of people who have had a hard time letting go of the past , so I would say if nothing else - he ’ s got the numbers to make an observation on what works .
Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker