over the last few weeks a series of apparently unconnected external events have hit my family like small and large meteorites. after the latest – and one of the least – when my eldest suffered a twisted ankle which will significantly affect our plans for the next few weeks – something rang a bell in my brain and I remembered an old blog post by Martha Beck on how to survive Life’s rough patches, which you can read here.
in the post Martha advises that when we hit a rough patch – or a rumble strip – the best way to navigate it is to hit the brakes, put your mind in reverse, and then find and follow smooth terrain.
the part about hitting the brakes rings very true for me. having food in the fridge and clean underwear in the drawers can make the difference between bearable and unbearable levels of chaos. running (always!). early bed. quiet time in the mornings. medicinal levels of chocolate.
I also like her explanation of why there sometimes seems to be a procession of unrelated disasters – namely, because our lives are SUPPOSED to be an epic road trip towards inner wisdom, love and joy. and those things are not found on the smooth and straight road. they are found when our life assumptions rub up against reality.
if you are in the early days of sobriety – which I would classify as at least the first 200 days – then you may well have taken that decision because all the evidence has been proclaiming to you that your belief that consuming alcohol is an enjoyable and vital part of life is NOT TRUE, at least for you. and after decades perhaps of drinking, and social conditioning, that is an immensely hard belief to back away from, to challenge, to change.
one thing I continue to find difficult is seeing others in real life, many of whom are very dear to me, who are still stuck in that dark place. no-one can make that leap for another person. one of the reasons I blog is to try to help those who HAVE identified they have an issue with alcohol, and to offer hope and example that life without alcohol is not lesser, but vastly more. that it is not a case of not being able to drink, but not having to drink. which is something I am still thankful for, every day.
if you are in longer term sobriety, chances are you will already have had a meteorite storm of your own. I found Martha’s post most helpful in challenging my own assumption that everyday life should proceed smoothly and without hiccups. once I let go of that, then I reduce the energy I am spending railing against the events, and can concentrate on dealing with them.
and sometimes it turns out that the monster we are dealing with is not so very big, after all… Prim xx