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Historical Post: Learning How to Adjust

Learning how to adjust

September 27, 2015 by julieannhowe

I took the time this weekend to spend a little time with my family.  With my recent break up I was just not feeling the want to be at home, where I would normally be awaiting his arrival so we could spend time together.  I sat down here this weekend with my family and realized however that things are different when you aren’t looking through beer goggles per-say.

My family was fine, and really didn’t do anything outlandish or mean.  It was merely my perception of situations and how I coped with some things.  For instance, it dawned on me this weekend that before, if there was anything that I felt like my parents were disappointed about with me, I had fuzzy vision to those issues.  Now sober as can be, they hit me head on and I feel everything associated with someone being disappointed with you.  These were things that at one point, I could easily let roll off my shoulders, and just shrug away.  Now without the power of alcohol I’m facing that ugly feeling that I have let my family down.

It really makes me understand why so many people relapse into drinking.  There are small moments where your coping with these situations puts you in a mindset that being sober can be very painful.  Truthfully, I have only really thought about drinking, I’m meaning physically wanting to pick up a drink, maybe twice in the past 9 months.  Yet as I sat this weekend with the sinking horrible feeling that I had let them down over a situation, partially trying to rationalize said situation away, but in my heart fully accepting that I had let them down, I thought for a moment, man this sucks, I am not a fan of this part of being sober!

In my visit I also had an epiphany.  I have a driving desire to make my father happy with me, and in doing so, I reflect the same need toward the men in my life. My dad is this amazing hero to me, he is both a policeman and a fireman.  He’s a shining star, a pillar of the community.  He does a job that he doesn’t get love for, and puts his life in danger daily, and has pulled off some pretty amazing feats.  He has saved lives doing it, and has been commended for his work in the FBI Bulletin, however, daily I’m sure people don’t thank him for a ticket, or dealing with their domestic garbage, or dragging them in for a warrant.  He’s very strong willed, a hard worker, and he wants the same for us as kids.  He is the reason I have a very strong work ethic, and why I am such an independent woman.

With that all being said, he’s always got that one more item you have let go or that you could do better on.  When I was a kid that was huge.  We were fairly typical kids, but if we were out late or something, it had to have a sinister meaning (cop thoughts). He pushed us to be the best we could be, he has always been insanely supportive and at our side for anything when we need him, and to repay him, I want to be the person he wants me to be, and the person I

know I haven’t yet become.  In turn, I feel like, he doesn’t say but I feel like, I am letting him down by not being that person.  I get this overwhelming sense of failure when I look in the mirror.  I feel as if I, at 41 years of age, should have my shit together much better than this.  I feel like he is still running next to me trying to keep my bike upright and I have this searing frustration in my veins that I can’t seem to keep it upright alone.

To be clear, my dad doesn’t sit back and say that I’m a failure, but he also doesn’t give out atta’boys.  He is that strong silent type and you try to read how he feels about you with his grimace, or slight grunt and the look on his face.  You know as you face him that he has a train of thoughts steaming through his head that he keeps to himself.  His personality is that of a police officer, which knows how to control what comes from his mouth and while it is probably helpful in his job, in our lives as a family it’s had moments where it is very difficult.  With that said, I’m afraid of what that train of thought might tell me if it did come out of his mouth.  Is he not saying how he feels because how he feels is worse that what I am thinking, because what I am thinking is some pretty horrific things about myself and my life choices to get me here.  Maybe I should be thankful that he keeps some to himself, but at the same time, some days I just want to grab his big shoulders and scream, “WHAT, SAY IT?”

On that same note though, lets touch bases for a moment on our personal morphing of what other people think.  Let’s not be unrealistic here, we can take someone else’s behavior and make a flat out ugly mutant of a opinion of what it actually may be.  I’m fantastic at this.  I get a sideways glance at someone and next thing you know I have an entire monologue in my head of how they think I’m fat, or they don’t think I’m doing a great job at my work, or maybe they think I am dumb, or just super angry with me for some reason.   In reality, they have a headache and aren’t feeling great, and nothing going on in their head has a damn thing to do with me.  I have been trying to teach my daughter the same thing I try to practice, you will always make things out to be way worse in your own head then they are in reality.

I have to regularly remind myself that what people see me to be is what I allow them to see, not what is going on inside my head.  I’ve been at work, and my thoughts are elsewhere, I will be cheery to everyone and when it comes to my work, completely unfocused.  Then someone walks into my office and I jolt into the thought that they are unhappy with my work or think I’m lazy.  Why would they think that?  I’m sitting at my desk, doing my work, maybe not as efficiently as I could, but I’m doing it, and they can’t see anything but that.  However because in my own head I know I am floating from thought to thought, I struggle to realize others can’t see that.

I have to try to reign in my thoughts and remind myself that people aren’t inside my head with me.  It can be difficult sometimes, and I am REALLY horrible with separating my negative impressions I think my dad might have on me via his grunts and groans, and my interpretation to that of total disapproval and failure.  I’m 41, not 20, and I still battle these things.  I’m more in control and confident now then I have ever been, but this weekend I realized how much drinking had helped me to never really cope with this.  I’m learning from scratch now.

One day at a time….

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