Making Peace with the Past
At the end of last year I visited my son Christopher in Lake Tahoe. He turned 25 in September 2017. We had such a great time, hiking, enjoying the sunshine, and good food. I am so grateful for the relationship that we have. In fact, I am grateful for the great relationship I have with both of my boys today. I am so proud of the men they have become. But, from time to time, my heart and soul yearn to go back in time, when they were young, innocent, and needed their Mother. I wasn’t always there for them and I made some pretty bad choices, at one point I was one bad decision away from never having contact with them, or the opportunity to ever have a relationship with them. I wasn’t happy with my life, or with myself and all of the years of drinking had caught up to me. I love my boys more than anything but when alcohol clouds your mind, and controls your thinking, who and what you love and value most can sometimes, and almost always do, end up taking a backseat.
In her book Rising Strong Brene’ Brown says, “We run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend”. Grief takes many forms, and this speaks to me now as I feel I am still letting go of old grief. The loss of time not spent with my children when they were young, old mistakes, old ways, and a past I was anxious to move on from.
I am 13 years into my recovery and this is something that keeps coming up for me and is foremost on my mind. I recognize it, I get very emotional and then my old behavior kicks in of shutting down, pushing the emotions away, and the the thought of, I should be over this, it was in the past, everything is good now. Over the years I have done a lot of work to repair my relationship with my boys, but I have never allowed myself to do the work within myself. I can’t go back and change the past. But the one thing I do know is that from the day I quit drinking I have worked on building a new relationship with my boys. One with a solid foundation, respect and trust. I have those things and more with my boys today and maybe it is time I dive in a little deeper within myself. I never really thought of it as grief but looking back on it now, it most definitely is.
Today, I cherish the relationship I have formed with my boys. They inspire me to continue to be better…do better, and I love that I inspire them to do the same. I am proud and grateful and my heart is full of love for my sons. I have never come out and asked them if they have forgiven me, but I don’t need to because the relationship speaks for itself. I can look back at my past and be at peace, even though I am still healing, letting go and doing the work within me.
No one said recovery was easy, or quick, time takes time, but recovery has given me the chance to begin again, in so many areas of my life, and it has given me the ability to be able to sit with my feelings and be ok with them, to be gentle with myself and my heart. The pain and loss I still feel are gentle reminders of a past that was not meant for me, but a strong reminder of the life I have today because of the work I have done and continue to do.
For those of us new to recovery, we need to remember that wounds don’t always heal the way you want them to, they heal the way they need to. It takes time for wounds to fade into scars. And grief can show up in many different forms. It takes time for the process of healing to take place. Give yourself that time, Give yourself that grace. Be gentle with your grief, and with your wounds. Be gentle with your heart. You deserve to heal. ~