I’m not sure there’s a more eternal job than that of a parent.
Having two college-aged children, I’m now seeing the fruits of all the hard work I put into raising them.
They are successful, thriving young adults.
Even though I was far from perfect.
Because of my issues with sobriety, my older children saw me tipsy (and more) more times than I care to admit.
They called me out on it. They worried.
I received novel-long texts from my daughter, and I’ll never forget one in particular.
I found it the morning after a really bad night.
I’d had a fight with my husband. I hated my job. I didn’t like the direction of my life.
I was worried about my dogs, my kids, my house, my parents, my husband’s parents.
Everything seemed to be going wrong.
And as usual, I dealt with hard times the way I’d watch my own parents deal with them.
I drank alcohol.
For someone like me who lives on high alert and with high anxiety, to drink means to forget.
For those small moments, you’re not having to control anything. You are letting go.
The problem with anxiety-drinkers is that we forget about the next morning.
We ignore that there will be physical, mental and spiritual consequences for binge-drinking.
Our psyche is dinged just a little bit more each time we have a binger.
Our liver suffers.
We live in worry that we did or said something wrong. (And I actually did many, many times, which brought out nothing but more self-condemnation to drink over.)
Drinking to deal with anxiety, and having anxiety over drinking becomes a vicious cycle.
The worst part about pain is that it makes you blind to those around you.
So while I wanted to believe my children were oblivious, the truth was, they were watching.
But unlike my own parents, I said lots and lots of I’m sorrys. My children and I talked at length about why I drank, how badly I wanted to stop, and why it was so important they learn from me.
Now, I was not running around day in and day out drinking. I’ve never been a drink in the day or a drink every night person.
But none of that mattered. The amount of time you drink isn’t important. The amount you drink when you drink is.
I finally gave it up for good. It was hard at first, but every day gets easier and easier.
It took a whole lot of prayer, and very little willpower, because I simply refused to place myself around alcohol or purchase it for myself (wine was my downfall).
I’m working on doing the same with processed foods now, which is infinitely harder, I can assure you.
But I’ll reach that milestone; I believe that.
Because my children are watching. And they are my harvest.