Life has been an emotional roller coaster lately. For the past two months at least. One thing after another. Just when I think the chaos and conflict is over, it starts again. Just when I start to breathe, the choking feeling returns.
My problems are no more important than anyone else’s. In fact, they’re nowhere near the as huge as what so many people deal with every single day. However, as someone who is still learning how to feel feelings and navigate emotions, my problems seem huge. Gigantic. To me, anyway. You know how “objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are?” That’s how my problems look. Because, without the option to numb out and pretend they don’t exist, they are often the biggest challenges in the world.
So, here I sit. In my car in the parking lot at the trail along the river where I usually walk. It’s been a really long time since the I was here. I drove here today with every intention of taking a two to three mile walk and possibly even picking things up to a slow jog for at least half a mile. I’ve got my sports bra on and my ear buds and playlist ready to go. I planned this. Yet, I can’t get out of the car. It’s been 30 minutes. I’m stuck. I have tears streaming down my face as I think about all of the things that feel not right about life right now. Challenges the kids are facing. Challenges I am facing. Fear of an unknown that has been consuming me for the better part of the last five weeks. Fear of another unknown, only a few days old but with a potentially devastating outcome. Challenges others are facing that I have only just learned about. And, of course, the holidays. Because, as much as I love them – Christmas most of all – I also dread them. Oh my hell, the triggery!!!!!
I know getting out of the car and taking that walk will be good for me. I know it will make me feel better. But, as I sit here, curled up in the driver’s seat of my car, neatly tucked in by the steering wheel, I can’t stop thinking that the walk would be the equivalent of taking a drink. It will be an escape. And, when I get back to the car, everything I walked away from will be right here, waiting for me. Why even bother?
So, here I sit. Watching people fly by on bicycles and someone walking a dog and friends jogging together.
I think about how blessed I am that my problems aren’t bigger. I think about how lucky I am to have found my way out of the bottom of the bottle. I think about how much I love I have for my children, my husband, my family. I think about how much I hate that sometimes love just isn’t enough. And, I cry even harder.
I’m OK. I’m OK. But I am so completely not OK!
I don’t need anyone to do anything for me. I don’t need anyone to try to fix what feels broken right now. It’s no one else’s problem. I’m not about to fall off the wagon. I am strong. Not weak. I have this.
I don’t need more of anything. I actually need less. I need less of the garbage. I need less hate and less fear and less anger and less uncertainty. I need to see and feel the goodness and kindness I know others have within them but for whatever reason are having a hard time finding and expressing. I need to know I’m not the only one who has faith. Because I am not sure I have enough faith for everyone.
Over the past few months, life has presented one conflict after another. They’re loaded with question marks and “what the what” moments and sometimes even laced with nastiness and ugliness. And, I make myself crazy trying to figure out how they could have been avoided. Trying to figure out what I did to cause them. Trying to take responsibility and own them. But they’re not always mine to own. And, sometimes there’s nothing I can do to resolve them.
But as bad as it all feels sometimes, I know it would be so much worse without my sobriety. 651 days. Almost 22 months. Worth all of it. Every. Single. Second. I cannot even imagine trying to slosh my way through these battles.
Not 10 minutes after I finished bawling and drove away from the river, my phone rang. It was a call I had been expecting for more than two weeks. My gastroenterologist. I’d been bothering his assistants for a couple of days and my squeaking had paid off. He had good news. After a second look, the pathologist determined all the biopsies taken during my colonoscopy and endoscopy last month were negative. No cancer. No diagnosis either. More tests needed. But. No cancer. [Fist bump. Happy, ugly tears.]
A few hours later, another phone call. This one handled by my husband. Good news for our son. Many lingering issues still to resolve, but we’re moving in the right direction. Sigh of relief.
The moral of my story today? When life thrusts the opportunity at you, don’t question it. Take the damn walk. It is not the same thing as a drink. Not even close. I didn’t walk today. I should have. Those phone calls would have come anyway. The voices on the other end would have spoken the same words. And, I would have ended my day happy, content, and accomplished. Instead, I am happy. Absolutely happy. But totally wanting that hour back for the walk. Lesson learned.
Also published on Medium.