A little reflection…

As the school holidays near their end, I’m reflecting on what a lovely time it’s been. I think these holidays have been the best yet. Finally, I may have found the perfect balance between doing fun stuff and downtime. 
We have:

* seen two movies (Minions & Inside Out)

* been to a play

* been to a playground

* visited our friends at Orphan’s Aid

* had friends over that we don’t see during school term because we’re all too busy

* reignited our interest in colouring in

* got back into jigsaw puzzles

* made huts

* played hide n seek (a lot trickier for Mum to hide!!)

Tomorrow my 9 year old starts his two days of intense Football Academy training, while my 5 year old and I visit the Art Gallery.

I feel VERY fortunate to hang with my two little boys, making memories together, learning things together. 

Enjoy your little people, for they are not little for long.

WG

Day 130 Treats

  
Today I wake up happy, again. This has been going on for the past two or three mornings.

Those of you who know what I’ve been going through the past eight months or so with a family conflict, will know that waking up happy is obviously a turning point. I think the extra time and the enforced slowing down thanks to the school holidays has given me a chance to catch my breath. It has also meant I haven’t had to see “that SIL” every day, and the distance has been lovely. 

As I celebrate 130 days AF I’m fully confident I will never drink again. How can I be so sure? Because I now see it for what it is. Mind-altering, toxin and sugar loaded junk. Yuck. No thanks. I no longer envy others with their glass of wine. I no longer want that sh*t in my body! 

  
To treat myself for this sober achievement, I have purchased three books:

1) The Girl on the Train

2) Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

3) A Secret Garden (adult colouring book!)

As I anticipate their delivery, I have to say, the biggest treat of all, is seeing the real me come up to the surface. The real me is quite shy, definitely introverted, sometimes serious but definitely witty and up for making life fun. Watching the real me emerge is just so rewarding. I’m so kind, compassionate, loving and patient! I’m becoming the wife and mum I always wanted to be. It was always there, but drowning internally from wine toxins and toxic people I surrounded myself with. 

It’s like wearing an outfit you’re not comfortable wearing but other people like it, so you, the quintessential people pleaser, keep it on. Eventually it wears you down, gets exhausting and burdensome. I’m stripping off other’s expectations and stepping into the real me. 

Now that is my idea of the best sober treat ever.

WG

School Holidays

  
^ That used to be me. I always drank more during school holidays. I was so tense, uptight and cranky and blamed it on having the kids home all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the school holidays but come Friday, I couldn’t wait for hubby to get home so I could wind down…or rather wine down (the neck)!

Now I don’t drink anymore, I really really LOVE the school holidays! I’m so much calmer and waaaaay more loving and kind than before. And my patience is never ending compared to before! 

So the first week is down. All we have done is gone to two movies, got the obligatory haircuts and had a play date. The rest of the time we have been doing zilch! It’s been so lovely. I’ve got some good, fun and interesting outings planned for next week. And I want to tidy and de clutter the house…not so fun!

Anyone else noticed changes within themselves and/or moods since not drinking?

Maybe life really does begin at 40…

Looking back at my thirties, I’m kind of glad to leave that decade behind. Those 10 years weren’t much fun to be honest…

Aged 30 and one month, I became a mother. Circumstances were difficult. I was as far away from New Zealand as I could be, living in England. We were down to living on one income. We were the first out of our friends to become parents. They didn’t understand why we couldn’t met in London for an impromptu night out. If we ever did join them, why on earth did we want to leave in time to get the last tube home?? We grew apart. I grew depressed.

When our baby was 3 years old, we decided to move back to New Zealand for a higher quality of life on less income. I pushed for our house to be sold, just before the housing market crash in 2008. A blessing. However, it meant we were homeless for four months so moved in with the in-laws…which ended in tears. My mother-in-law didn’t give me a lot of breathing space, constantly critiquing everything I did, including my parenting skills.

In November 2008 we moved to New Zealand. We had kind of “given up” trying for a second baby by this time; instead I turned my attention to starting a business. Less than 4 weeks after registering my company, I discovered I was pregnant! To give you some background, my body doesn’t do pregnancy so well – the first pregnancy, I ended up being stretchered out from work after mysterious and heavy bleeding. My workplace bathroom looked as though there had been a murder. I was mortified at the thought of having to leave it to my co-workers to clean up, whilst being terrified I was losing my precious baby. So, it was very stressful to say the least when out at networking functions, worrying if any minute was I suddenly going to start bleeding.

After a month renting my brother’s house (the one who isn’t speaking to me any longer), I received a phone call from him to say they (his wife and their twin sons) were also moving back to NZ and we had three weeks to find somewhere else to live. Another house move. Sigh. That would total 4 house moves in 6 months.

And then at 11 weeks pregnant (the same week as my first pregnancy), the bleeding began. Thank goodness I was at home. My helpful 3 year old followed my step-by-step instructions to bring me the phone so I could call the ambulance, my midwife and my father. After a brief stint in hospital they sent me home for bed rest…with a new business and a three year old, that just wasn’t entirely possible.

Then my husband’s parents phoned to say his Grandmother had passed away. We were both devastated by this news. I had never known the love of a grandmother until I met ‘Nan’.

During all of this, we still had to find a house to buy. As luck would have it, one just two doors down came up for sale. We snapped it up. We took on a mortgage with no income which was pretty stressful but by now I had faith in our ability to get through anything…

We moved in, hubby got a job (hoorah!) and I had our second baby in September 2009. What started out as a serene water birth suddenly ended up in a crash caesarean. My second baby was a crier, ‘they’ suspected colic, then silent reflux…there was a myriad of medications, some to be given on an empty stomach, some to be given with a feed. It sounds simple enough but he preferred cluster feeding, making it nigh on impossible to get the right meds in at the right time.

My business fizzled along. Thank goodness for technology! I was able to do a lot online. But it wasn’t getting the attention it required for success. I worked from home a lot but my sister-in-law didn’t respect or understand I was working and would come over every day. When I said something, she was very hurt by it and I ended up receiving an earful from my brother, asking me to be there for his wife, as she knows nobody. I took his request very seriously and took it upon myself to take care of her. (Possibly leading to the resentment I feel today.)

Around this time my drinking started increasing. As I write this, I think, is it any wonder?! I began craving nights out – escape from a failing business, money worries, my overly energetic four year old and my needy, crying baby.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, my brother’s marriage started to fall apart. Remembering and honouring my vow to take care of my SIL, I propped her up for close to 12 months, to the detriment of myself. It was an extremely stressful time. She would be on the phone to me, up to 4 or 5 times a day, to talk about it. And I allowed it. My brother ended up moving out and I literally would drive myself from one person to the other, mediating. Now I look back, it was crazy. I took it upon myself to fix it between them, but it wasn’t my responsibility. It was around this time, my drinking spiralled from binging at the weekends to drinking a few glasses every night. And now, especially since they both hate me, I wish I had honoured my boundaries.

Why do they hate me? To be honest, I’m not sure. I dared to speak up for myself against her when during 2014 she would scorn and criticise my efforts not to drink. In true narcissistic fashion, her response was to “take a step back, because upsetting me was upsetting her”.

Yesterday was my 40th birthday. Neither my brother, nor my SIL sent me a message. I can’t help it, it hurts. She has caused a massive rift in her family, and now mine.

I’m continually having to remind myself forgive and forget. Onwards and upwards. Yes, I’m glad to be leaving my 30’s. The highs from that decade are two wonderful kids and a loving home we have created. But I’m glad to leave the rest of it behind.

WG

Tit for Tat vs. Acceptance

I’ve made a big decision after The Wretched Day. It’s become clear to me my brother and SIL want nothing to do with me, to the point where I am dead to them. They have chosen to completely ignore me, to blank me as though I don’t exist. To catch readers up who may not know, I dared to stick up for myself to my SIL, first asking and then telling her to stop calling me boring, anti social, and no fun after I stopped drinking alcohol.

And you know what? Life is quieter without her in it. Calmer, no drama. I feel more me, without her narcissistic influence manipulating me. But on the flip side, I am incredibly hurt. It’s incomprehensible that two people I was so close to, can just cut me off like this. 

For the past eight months I have chosen civility. I’ve said hello when running into them, I’ve text to check they’re ok after our city experienced flooding, I’ve sent happy birthday wishes via Facebook for my nephew’s 5th birthday – it’s all been met with nothing, not an iota of acknowledgement.

So my big decision, after much soul searching, is to stop. My parents are putting pressure on me to continue trying but I have told them The Wretched Day was the final straw. I know they are disappointed in my decision, my Mum made that clear, and it irks me they aren’t putting the same pressure on my brother. But I’m standing my ground. The responsibility to “fix” this, isn’t mine alone. And this is my life and it is not serving me to keep up the effort, only to be blanked every time. It’s hurting me, it’s exhausting and it’s not congruent with the massive effort I am putting in, to get through my depression. It’s causing me deep pain.

It’s not about tit for tat behaviour, which it may appear as on the surface. It’s so much more than that. It’s about acceptance. Acceptance I cannot change them. Acceptance I cannot change the situation. Acceptance I cannot control anything, except myself and my thoughts. 

There is something quite freeing about my decision to accept all of this. My default setting as a people pleaser is short circuiting right now! But I am not responsible for making them happy so I can fulfil my people pleasing function. I don’t need to turn myself inside out over this any longer.

Sometimes the best action to take, is no action. Be still. Accept. This is where I am at, for now.

  
WG