I have the great blessing of two alcoholic parents.
Mom, Dad, for the purposes of this post I really hope you don’t mind me doing this.
This morning, 18-9-18, I had an epiphany! Losing Johan is feeling a lot like those early days after my parents stopped drinking – now 39 years ago, when I was a lost, sad, angry little girl.
Coming home in total trepidation – did anything happen while I was away? The close hugs and unnecessary kisses to make sure. Very, very sure that the devil did not “get in” while I was away at school. It was days of joy, days of utter frustration and days of being scared shitless and proud all at the same time.
My dad stopped drinking a couple of months after my mom. In those early days, mom had tough times. I really don’t always understand how she kept her shit together. She had to do stuff that no other normal mom ever had to do or face. She is a Shero as Corlé would call it. It was tough for me. I had to hand over a lot of the household duties I had to take over and it was rough, I had a place, a job, duties and responsibilities that only a mom really knew and it was hard to relinquish my “power.” But I was happy, so very, very happy that she got to the other side. We could function again. Life would return to a new normal.
When Dad stopped drinking, it was even better. Now we were doing normal family stuff together. Braai’s on the beach, camping, crayfish diving – stuff we never did before. It was heaven. My poor father was inundated with midnight kisses after his shifts at work…just in case. Questions no adult should have to answer… where were you, where are you going, when will you be back, who are those people and how long will you be away? Shame, my poor Daddy, it could not have been easy – but look at them now…. They made it, they did it. They got through, stronger in their relationship than ever. Strong Christian people with a healthy respect for God, man and animal. Loving, nurturing, caring – REAL!!
Now … onto my epiphany!!
In this “new normal” I am feeling 12 again… A wiser more mature 12, but 12 again. I need to learn new lessons, but the old ones will serve me well. I have different responsibilities and different people to keep happy, but I am just as scared, just as worried, just as questioning as I was at 12. Sometimes I want to give myself a huge hug just to test if I am still on the right track. Are you “sober” Rachelle? Are you OK? Did you do what was right today or did you falter and fall off the “wagon?”
If God could pull me through Alcoholism, and He did it with so much grace and care and love and He made me so very, very strong in the process, why on earth would He stop now?
Maybe I now need to just remember the basics. Maybe I need to go back to being that scared little girl – 12 years old – who is acting all tough and hard and resilient. Maybe I need to remember Alateen and all the little lessons I learnt and applied diligently every day so I could get to 9pm, sleep time, and another day gone.
Maybe I should just Let Go and let God deal with this situation that He allowed. Maybe I should just let the lessons be learnt. In Alateen I learnt that God will keep you in a situation until you have learnt the lesson you are meant to learn. I learnt that to “get up and show up” is just enough some days. I learnt that I need to make sure I am clean, as healthy as possible and that I choose happiness.
That my happiness and joy does NOT depend on other people, some problems are theirs, they need to deal with it, I just need to keep myself happy and motivated. That choice is only mine to make. I learnt that I could begin my day over and over again, every hour if I needed to. (One day at a time, one hour if a day seems too long and hard – I can hear my mom say that, loud and clear) I could live one minute at a time. That the other people in my home has no idea what I am going through and they really don’t have to know. I learnt that I am OK. I am enough. I am in exactly the right place at exactly the right time for God to do what He needs to do. I came out strong. I came out capable, if a little mousey and meek sometimes, but that Johan squished quick and fast. I came out opinionated, loud, sometimes brash, but whole. I came out whole.
From today I vow to apply the AA principles to my grieving process. I will cut myself some slack. I will cry when I need to. I will keep the Serenity prayer in my heart and in my head and I will seek the council of my Higher Power. I will seek forgiveness and give the same. I will follow the 12 steps. They pulled me through once, they will do it again, and I will be stronger.
Now all this does not mean, in the least, that I am not going to cry. I will still lose my shit in the middle of the night and count on Antoinette and Karolien to pick me up and talk some sense into me. Crying and anger was so much part of the healing process then, I cannot believe that it will not be again, but I healed. I lived. I had joy and fun. I will again.
The only thing missing is the Hoedjiesbaai beach, but God know exactly what I need and He will provide a “beach” again and seagulls screaming and wind blowing through my hair and waves crashing. He will provide what I need to heal, just as He did then. Those long ago years when I learnt to be the girl my husband loved.
Here is to AA and to my new, full life!