Friday, September 14, 2012


I just said a scary word: Addiction.

Even now just writing it down gives me a little panicky feeling in my stomach and more than anything I want to stop writing about this. But it's a part of our (my) lives. It's impossible to escape. And it's in each and every one of us.

Wait, I'm not talking about a distant relative that we all "know" is an "addict" (we whisper, shaking our heads in disgust and possibly sympathy)? Nope, I'm talking about this Mommy, right here, me. Maybe you, but I'm not able to judge that, as I'm not privy to your private thought processes. All I know is that there are behaviors and compulsions in my life that threaten to control me. This is a hard topic, but there it is.

I love wine, do I NEED wine? I love to shop, do I NEED to shop? Those are mine. What are yours? Do you NEED to exercise? Eat? Drink? Chew gum? I don't know, it could be virtually anything. I wouldn't say I'm a full-on alcoholic or anything (wouldn't I be in "denial" if I was...?), but when you (I) do a quick (yes quick, super casual-like. You can totally do that too) survey in my head of how many days last week I had something to drink, and I'm up to, well, all of them, I have to start evaluating.

Why did I do that? Did I feel like I needed to drink every night this week? What's my problem? How did those drinks effect me? Were they enjoyable? Or did they cause more stress?

Here's what I've come to realize over the last month or two: If I started a behavior or habit in order to relax, enjoy myself, or whatever, and it has slowly and without my permission become something that instead causes me more stress, more anxiety, and possibly has harmed one or more of my relationships, more than likely, I need to make a change. 

And then comes the work. And decision-making. And self-monitoring. Those are annoying words. I hate them. They make me feel confined. But I would rather set some simple boundaries for myself, possibly annoy myself (that actually happens a lot); I would rather that, than leave all structure behind and possibly hurt those closest to me. It can happen. It happens to a lot of people. Those "addicts" we talk about in hushed tones? They were once just normal (ha!) like you and me.

So will I have a glass of wine tonight? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't want to say drinking is wrong, period. Because it's not. It's not even about the wine (beer, vodka, insert your favorite here). It's about the heart. Is my heart focused on caring for my children, loving my husband? Enjoying the last hour of the day truly present with my family? Or do I want to escape? Unfortunately, it's often the latter.

So I know for me, that's where the work begins. It doesn't start (or stop) with how much wine I have between 8 (okay, 5...) and 10 at night. It starts with how much I want to be where I am. Instead I get angry, and frustrated, and allow myself to become overwhelmed; and I so often forget that laughter and love and hugs from my little people, and kisses from my love, are more than enough to calm and sooth and heal-over my hard days.