How a Big Mess Delivered the Serenity I Needed

Earlier today, I ended a two-and-a-half week hiatus from recovery/sobriety writing and social media sharing/engagement. Something has been missing for me, and I didn’t know what it was. What I did know was that I was looking on social media for whatever I had lost (or never had to begin with) — constantly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook feeds — and, I realized that wasn’t where I was going to find it. Despite the amazing posts shared by everyone I follow (duh, if they weren’t the best of the best, I wouldn’t follow them), the Universe wasn’t going to toss me a meme or a blog post that fixed everything I felt was broken. That’s just not the way life works.

While I have always been good at recognizing when I need to come up for air, this was different. I needed more than just some air. This was bigger than a simple act of self care. Something was missing. But what? Since, I had no idea, I realized it was time to look within. In fact, it was an Instagram post that whacked me over the head with that revelation. I wrote about it.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for (don’t you dare break into song all at once — wait, yes, do sing, all of you, I want to hear!). I haven’t found it. Not because it’s not there. Because I haven’t been patient. I haven’t been mindful. I haven’t been conscious. Instead, I’ve withdrawn. And gotten sad and become unmotivated. And, I’ve turned my focus to work and family, forgetting about myself. Because, say it with me, if we ignore the problem, it will just go away. Been there. Done that. When will I ever learn?!

Well, today I got lucky. The universe simply lost its patience with me and threw what I was looking for right in my face. Sometimes I’m that dense. Seriously. After almost 46 years, the universe should know that and maybe not make me wait so long next time. But, anyway. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I graciously accepted this gift with all the happy tears and, instantly, the weight of the world lifted off me.

Serenity. The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

And, how did the universe deliver this serenity? This is a good one. Grab a cuppa and snuggle into your favorite chair.

My almost 13 year old (his birthday is exactly six weeks from today and he has asked that I not refer to him as 12 anymore … fine) needed a new pair of kicks. I promised him we’d go to the mall today. I despise the mall. Most of the time, if I can’t purchase it online, it doesn’t get bought. But, his feet are growing so stinking fast these days (more than two sizes in the past year), we had to go try on the sneakers. With my 10 year old daughter in tow. A girl who doesn’t need sneakers right now. Or anything for that matter. But, she wanted to “shop” in her favorite stores, for things she couldn’t afford because she doesn’t have any money saved up. Great, I thought. I’m going to be in the mall all day with a headache the size of Texas that’s been raging since yesterday. But, we have to do this. The kid needs sneakers.

Before we left, my husband asked me if I was going to stop at Teavana for more of my favorite morning tea. I told him I hadn’t thought about it. He may or may not know about the ridiculous coffee habit I’ve managed to pick up while stuck in this rut the last few weeks. It’s disgusting.

Long story less long … the boy finds the sneakers of his dreams. They fit great. I even like them; maybe love them (which is saying a lot these days given his recent style choices). But, they’re far more expensive than I had expected. “Alright,” I said. “You want to be 13? Here. Happy Birthday a little bit early.” Done. Let’s move on.

Right outside Foot Locker was Teavana. “You know what, guys,” I said. “Let’s go in.” After some quick browsing and an unsuccessful exchange with the sales girl who sold me way more tea than I asked for and said she hopes I come back to the store to visit her “real soon,” not only did I replenish my supply of Rev Up, I also got some Serenity (a caffeine free chamomile with orange, apple, rose, and lavender) from Teavana’s Wellness Teas collection. And, out the door we went. Off to Claire’s and Justice, as I prayed my head wouldn’t explode. To hurry things along, I bought my daughter the St. Patrick’s Day JoJo Siwa Bow she was dying for. I will regret this with every fiber of my being tomorrow when her room is a disaster and she starts acting like a defense attorney again. But, it meant we got to skip Justice. So there’s that.

Finally done with our mall excursion, we shuffled through the 20 degree temps and biting wind to the car. We jumped in, closed the doors, and fired up the engine and heat. Everyone admired their loot. Even me. Time to smell that tea.

I’d asked the girl to put the Serenity in a new tin canister for me. Grabbing it out of the bag, I noticed she had slapped the label on the canister itself. As I carefully removed it, I called her a not very nice name and pulled off the lid to place the sticker on the plastic seal inside. But, the suction when I took off the top was so strong, it popped the seal out and the loose tea exploded all over the inside of my car. More not so nice words. Louder.

Serenity. Everywhere. Nothing I could do. Except curse. And, then, realize I was surrounded by Serenity. Ha! For the next couple of hours as I hopped in and out of my car on errands. With kids fighting in the back seat. And that headache. The one that got even worse after a stop for lunch. What’s bigger than Texas?

As we arrived home, I let the kids know what I expected them to do. I told them my plans, starting with putting away groceries and ending with, “Then I have to suck up all this Serenity.” We each went about our chores. Finally, I had a moment to grab the vacuum and head out to the garage. As I began cleaning the car, I thought, “Lucky damn vacuum, breathing in and getting filled with all this Serenity.” And, then I realized I was lucky, too. Had the tea not spilled, who knows how long it would have taken me to identify what I needed. Serenity. Plain and simple. It’s not always easy to achieve. But, at least I figured out what had been missing. I can find what I need if I know what to look for. Somehow, this time I didn’t, and I am blessed it showed up for me today, even in the form of a mess.

Usually, when I vacuum, I will curse the machine until it makes every last unwanted speck of whatever disappear. I’m meaner than the Grinch; I don’t even leave that crumb too small for a mouse. Today was different. I was sloppy as heck with the vacuum, leaving behind plenty of noticeable traces of Serenity. Because it’s what I’ve been needing. Because I like it there. Because I need to remember.


    1. Thanks, Wendy. I think days like these are my new normal. Rolling with the punches and being able to take it all in stride thanks to sobriety. I really wouldn’t trade it for anything! XO

  1. It’s the simple things that keep us in check! I’m so excited to have found your blog! I am a 47 year old married with 2 teenage daughters and too many animals! I am heading into seven months of sobriety! I was a normal drinker until I wasn’t. I am thankful for my sobriety but also saddened that I have no ability to be a normal drinker Ever! I am trying to adjust to living without. I am not that person anymore. It is definitely a simpler life I rarely go out to avoid temptation.
    Thank you for being so real and honest. Why do people question their own drinking when they find out you are not!

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