Monday, July 18, 2011

The Future is Now

I spent a lot of time while in hospital thinking about the future, being afraid of the future.  My future loomed, like a big scary monster at the foot of the bed.

Raar! We'll eat you up!

That was mostly because being in hospital was like being in god's waiting room, waiting for the next phase of my existence to begin. There was nothing to do, very few visitors to keep me connected to my life and no one to talk to about what would happen next.  It was a total removal from the realities of my life, so much so that I could almost convince myself that there was nothing else for me outside the walls of that room.  Being so distanced from my own reality was what made the prospect of leaving that environment and going home such a traumatic idea.

When I left I didn't want to go, not by a long shot. After the huge panic attack and suicidal thoughts the night before, I knew that the hospital environment was going to break me rather than help me if I stayed any longer.  And lets face it, the only way in which it helped was by giving me room and board so I could be alone with my own thoughts for a while and not kill my kids while I sorted my shit out.  The hospital didn't DO anything.  The psychological benefits I got from it were of my own making, through my own incessant journalling process.

I have been home now 12 days and it seems so much longer than that.  In that time I have holed myself up in my bedroom and refusing to come out except to eat dinner with the family, because the anxiety associated with the living room was too high. I have stopped taking the benzodiazapines the hospital put me on and consequently I am awake until 4.30am most nights.  Felix tells me time and time again that he loves me, wants to be with me all the time, that I am his "beautiful mummy" and that he wants to marry me. I am getting the distinct impression that he wants to make sure I don't leave him again. Ella just wants mummy all the time. For everything. Daddy isn't allowed to do nappy changes, take her to the toilet, brush her hair or get her food. Its mummy or meltdown. From the kids, the pressure is on to perform, to be the perfect mummy that they want to have around all the time. and I am feel like I am failing miserably.

The biggest fear I had about the future is that I had no idea how to be (in the simplest definition of the word) without alcohol in my life.  I didn't know how to parent, how to relax, how to reduce stress, how to talk to friends.  I've had plenty of times in my life where I didn't touch alcohol at all, or very little, and I knew who that person was. I had an identity. But as a mother of two, in this stage of my life, I have no idea who I am without alcohol. I have no idea what I think without alcohol. I have no idea what I want to do without alcohol in my life.

I thought that once I got home something would be revealed to me, like the Big Reveal on Extreme Makeovers: the whole family waiting anxiously for me as I arrive home from hospital and then screams of delight and "Oh my god the transformation is just amaaazing..." "you're a new, better you!"  But there is no big reveal, there is no miraculous transformation just because I stopped drinking. There is no waiting for the big scary Future to start. The Future is here, it is now, it was the day I stopped drinking, it was the day I asked to be admitted to hospital, it was the day I opened my hospital room door to stop my suicidal thoughts. It was the day I decided to come home, and it was the day my son told me he wanted to marry me.

I have come to accept the Future, not as a big scary monster at the foot of my bed but as a succession of tiny moments a continuous string of "nows."  Some are noteworthy, some hard, some beautiful, some distressing, some funny.  There is no need to spend precious time worrying about how I am going to "do" mothering sober: I am already doing it.

My future is now.



  1. As always, you have brought tears to my eyes. In awe. So proud of you. No pressure, though. :-)

  2. Dear Sharon, I wanted to stop by to say that I have been reading every word since you started posting again.

    (I "met" you a long time ago in Manuela's comment section)

    Your story is heartbreaking and I'm thankful that you're sharing it with us. I'm thinking of you and wishing you strength to face your "present future." I hope that sharing what you're going through with us can help you some how and I will comment more often -- maybe that helps.

    It may not be of any consolation to you, but I just wanted to say that being a mother is awfully hard for all of us. This morning my sons were screaming at each other and I was running late and I just felt like the worst failure. I tried to do "cyber-schooling" (internet based schooling, not hard-core homeschooling) for a year and that was awful, I screamed at my older son and treated him awfully... and I felt horrible. We're all on the same boat, it's really hard to live every single day as a parent and I cannot imagine how hard it is to do that while in pain and in a really difficult relationship. So... you're a hero, really, you are. And I hope you can find the parent you are and can be without drinking.

    We'll be here for you and with you, OK? I hope it helps a tiny bit.

  3. you're amazing.
    and it's winter.
    you're allowed to hibernate.
    says i.
    may we skype soon??

  4. Wow, Lilian, imagine seeing you still here! As always, as it did in the old days, writing here does help. Its the best way I know of to sort out the swirling thoughts and to find some sort of peace with them. And comments *always* help, especially when they say things like "hero"... ;-) It does help to know that other people feel like they fail their kids too. I feel less like a total fuck-up that way.

    @Lorem, You sure do cry a lot. Is it because of my grammar?

    @Slurry-face, yes, Skype we shall. Dont do anything stoopid til then.


Comments make blogging a conversation, rather than mere self-indulgent navel-gazing. Look at that big empty space down there...just waiting for your thoughts.

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