Monday, April 5, 2010

Checking In

The past couple of weeks have been really hard, and right now there is no end in sight. My husband was in a car accident, and while he’s fine physically the toll of dealing with the totaled car, the insurance, the costs and the disagreements over what to do now was high. Throw in a fight with my dad and a very crazy situation at school which has put me in the uncomfortable roll of debt collector and my nerves are shot. In the past, I would have drown each of these problems with liters of wine. But I can’t, and don’t want to, do that anymore. So how do I deal? With clichés, and pep talks and a whole lot of prayer.

I put myself to sleep at night reciting the Serenity Prayer over and over. I particularly need this version right now:


Grant me the Serenity

To accept the people I cannot change,

The courage to change the one I can,

And the wisdom to know it is me.

I wake up, and the despair hits me before I even roll out of bed. On the way to the bathroom I chant: “One foot in front of the other. Just put one foot in front of the other. Deal with one thing at a time. Don’t think about what comes next, just take care of what is in front of you now.” In the shower I say the Serenity Prayer a few more times (crazy how calming those 4 lines are) and talk to my Higher Power: “God, take my anger. Take my fear, my frustration, my disappointment. Take this situation. I can’t handle it; you can. It’s yours now.”

For the rest of the day I try to focus on the task in front of me. I try to pour all my concentration and thought into putting on my make-up, packing my lunch, driving my car, doing my job. I remind myself over and over that my priorities are: #1 Me. #2 My children. #3 My husband. When I find myself gnawing at my problems like a dog with an old bone I ask myself if I am focusing on my priorities? Is my worrying helping the situation right now? No? Then drop it. Focus on now, this moment. Is anything bad happening right now in this moment that I need to deal with? Nearly always the answer is no. So I tell myself “I can’t change the past, and the future is uncertain, so there is no point worrying about it. Things will happen as they happen, I have no control over them.”

In a way, I am blessed to be an alcoholic. Because my disease led me to AA, and AA is leading me to a way of dealing with life on life’s terms. It’s leading me to peace, serenity, acceptance, gratitude and joy. In these difficult, dark days I can use the tools of the program to survive. It’s still hard as hell, but I’m not drinking. I’m not contemplating suicide. I’m not screaming at my kids. I’m not hating on my husband. I’m not hiding from my problems. Today, despite it all, is a good day.


  1. :( I'm sorry things are so tough right now. Hang in their girl, you are doing great. Maybe right now, those words sound empty - however I hope not. Even an "atta girl" from a stranger can be a boost to help get through a day, where depression and despair threaten to take over. Your positive attitude is shining through, and getting you thru each day. :)

  2. "For the rest of the day I try to focus on the task in front of me."
    That's such a good reminder...
    Hang in there - sending some positive thoughts your way!

  3. It's inspiring to read this post. I'm having a rough go at some nasty tasks right now, so this helped me tremendously. Lots of great reminders. Surrender can be so powerful.

  4. I have read this quote about a million times, it has saved me more than once:

    "I took a long, deep breath and wondered as usual, where to start. You start where you are, is the secret of life. You do the next right thing you can see. Then the next."
    Anne Lamott