A couple of weeks ago I relapsed…
No, I didn’t drink. But my behavior amounted to drinking behavior.
Let me set the stage:
For mental health reasons, my daughter is attending a partial-day school schedule. It was a necessary change to allow her to maintain more consistent attendance while getting acclimated to the rigors of high school and managing her overwhelming anxiety and mood disorder. All in all, it’s been a positive change. But it also compresses the amount of time in a day that I have to get things done, because it means I’m breaking from whatever I’m doing mid-morning to interact with her and get her to school on time for her first period which begins around 10:30am only to turn around and pick her up 4 hours later. On top of that, work is picking up (I know, I know, a good problem to have) which means I spend, on average, 10 hours a day in front of the computer. I’m still dedicated to making it to the gym every day, if possible, and am still the primary in terms of cleaning, cooking, etc. because that’s our deal. On any given day, it’s still totally manageable – I’m not complaining. But on some days, throw in a couple of doctor’s appointments and I’m back to feeling stretched and overwhelmed like I did a year ago when I was working full time.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we had a day where in addition to the normal routine, there were two or three appointments or after school activities that further complicated the schedule. It was written on my whiteboard (one of many!) and all day, I kept staring at it in dread, knowing that it was going to be crunch-time once I picked my daughter up from school. I was busting my ass to do everything I could before then, and had skipped the gym to free up more time for getting other things done. Suffice it to say, by the time Mr. 2.0 got home from work, I was coming unglued. Stressed out, darting around the kitchen preparing dinner with that little wrinkled “v” in my forehead, short-tempered and exasperated. Within 15 minutes of his arrival, the kitchen felt like a detention center – no one dare cross me when I’m in that mood. And what makes it worse is I was AWARE of what I was doing AS I WAS DOING IT!
I think the most disappointing thing about that whole scene is how hard I’ve worked to not be that person anymore. The one who everyone feels like they have to tip-toe around for fear of verbal retribution. I hadn’t seen that bitch in a while, and it made me mad, and ashamed, which in turn, made me bitchier.
A few days later, I mentioned it to Mr. 2.0 – acknowledging that I had behaved in a way I wasn’t proud of, and apologizing. As is his norm, he didn’t say much, which means he a) agreed that I was being pretty bitchy and b) still loved me anyway. I know how lucky I am to have him – a lot of people wouldn’t put up with that whole Jekyll and Hyde routine for long.
Looking back, it’s clear to me that I put that all on myself. The deadlines, the pressure, the lack of self-care, was all my own making. As I’ve mentioned, my meditation practice is pretty much non-existent and I’m not even going to Yoga anymore. I’m not journaling in the morning like I used to, and I’m not going to AA. I’m not saying I’m going to relapse and drink, but I did relapse in my behavior, which is nearly as bad as far as I’m concerned. Clearly, I can do better.
While I’m disappointed in myself, I’m also proud of myself for seeing it and ending it before I went on a bender. I’m also proud of the fact that I owned up to it to Mr. 2.0 and made amends, instead of stuffing it down into the shame hole, which was another aspect of my alcoholic behavior. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that I’m still susceptible to going off the deep end if I’m not devoted, every day, to maintaining my sobriety – literally and figuratively.