She No Longer Exists
Somewhere in my addiction I got lost and when I tried to find my way back, I could not be found. She no longer existed.
We spend a lot of time wishing we could turn back the clock, don’t we? I tend to get caught up in that sometimes.
This week, Craig and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary so I tend to go back in my mind on these anniversaries and smile. I think about the fact that for the greater percentage of my 50 years I have been with him. We got married when I was 18 and he was 21. The odds were stacked against us. We didn’t have much money, but we were going to live on love!
We were basically living out a country music song. We even had a dog and a pickup. Somehow, we made it. We did nothing by the book and we fought as hard as we loved. Only by the grace of God, here we are 32 years later.
When I go back in my mind that far, I really don’t want to turn the clock back. Those first years were hard! But I would like to just take a peek at a day in the life of that first year. I’m sure we would laugh about the 80’s hair and apparel, but I think that we would definitely say, "Who are those people?” Those two kids don’t even exist anymore. We have both said to each other that we are totally different people than when we got married. We have grown up together.
Wait. Does that mean we are adults?!?!
My husband and I recently talked about when we finally felt like adults. He said for him it was when he took on the name, Grandpa. Whereas I am holding that baby for the first time and totally falling in love with that little peanut while I'm thinking, "Me? Grandma? I’m still a kid! Right?!" Then I walk past a mirror… Shocker! You're not a kid anymore. I think that it's a gift to feel young at heart, a gift I should cherish. I asked my Dad once when he felt like an adult (he is in his 70’s) and he said never. I love that.
A therapist once pointed out to me that my drinking behavior was childish; my thoughts about whether I did “good” or “bad” each day relating to alcohol was not mature thinking. I am not a child to be acknowledged as good or bad. We’ve all heard that expression, "He’s a bad kid." Or "She is a good girl." We never hear, "She is a bad woman." God doesn't define us as good or bad, so neither should I.
Sometimes, I am tempted to engage in behavior that the little voice in my head is asking me to reconsider (i.e. going to bed with a carton of milk duds and Netflix while hubby is gone). I have to check in and ask myself if that is an adult action or a childlike action. I have to remind myself that I have responsibilities here that God has assigned me and a temple he has asked me to take care of.
As a child, I read incessantly to avoid reality. As an adult, I drank to avoid reality. Why? I didn't have a reason to escape from either. I wasn’t being bullied or abused as a child and later on, I had a pretty good life as well. I believe I have always been running after the next thing to fill me up and satisfy my longing for… what? Belonging? Acceptance? I'm not really sure.
Sometimes I think I was looking for people in my life to fill me up. When that didn't happen, (I have high expectations) I went after a way to escape any hurt that I felt. Thank goodness that was just a detour. I discovered there is only one way to fill that emptiness inside. God is responsible for filling in all those empty places now. I don’t put that on anyone else or anything. It’s up to me to seek him in those times.
The day I quit drinking, I totally surrendered and gave up the only way I knew how to function. It was time to grow up. The adult in me poured the liquor down the drain, but it was the child in me that got on her knees to ask her Father for help.
I quit trying to be who I was before I quit drinking. She no longer exists. I am not seeking to fill myself up with anything else. I’ve discovered how beautiful life is when I stay close to God and rely on him to take care of me and see me through both pain and joy. I’m going with God; he’s all I got, and it is enough.
Blessings on your weekend,