It’s been a very tough week and whilst I don’t think it’s appropriate to share the finer personal details on here I can say that my oldest daughter (our 7 year old) has been in hospital. In fact, due to a shortage of beds and the chaos at our local hospital she has been an inpatient at a hospital nearly 30 miles away.
The complexities of it all have been difficult to witness as a parent and whilst all my energy and focus has been on my child it’s naturally taken it’s toll mentally on me and my wife. You automatically go into survival mode and live off limited food and drink, next to no sleep and in my case fighting my own guilt and demons. Of course, thinking rationally I know my daughter being unwell is not my fault but you do blame yourself and question if you could have done things different. I live with the mantra of ‘live life with no regrets’ though so beyond my irrational and immediate thought process in the moment I’m trying to be strong and pragmatic.
The drive to and from the hospital (around 35-40 mins) is giving me time to switch off and put things into perspective. Despite the initial panic and worry about my daughter things have stabilised and the Doctors have given us the reassurances she is not in the danger zone. We can now try and look at a plan beyond hospital as a family. My usual coping mechanisms of running, yoga and writing have been on the back burner this week from a time point of view and quite naturally I miss these outlets because they help me stay in a safe mental space. All that said I’m sober and I’m focused on my family so that is good enough for me at present.
I did have a little wobble on Monday Evening on my way home. My youngest was sleeping at the Grandparents and my wife was staying with my 7yr old at the hospital. It was around 9pm and I popped into a supermarket to get something to eat but I just ended up aimlessly wandering the aisles – I knew I needed to fuel my body but I had no appetite. I then walked into the booze aisle, which normally doesn’t bother me anymore but I started thinking about buying some alcohol to help relax me for when I got back home to the empty house. I shaked off the addictive voice pretty quickly and gave myself a pep talk back in the car but it was yet another example of my Beast leaping onto any insecurity I show it.
Our Addictive Voice (AV) only exists for one thing – the substance we have previously had no control over. It has no care or consideration for personal issues that are upsetting or confusing us. In fact it will sniff these out very easily as opportunities to have a feed. I have made the decision to no longer consume alcohol (ever) but my AV doesn’t agree with that so will use ANY way to get me to change my mind.
Life is a rollercoaster as Irish Popstar Ronan Keating once sang and unfortunately at the moment it’s been a constant flow of drops and dips which naturally batter and bruise the armour but I still look at the bigger picture with wide lenses and appreciate that if I was still using alcohol and other unhealthy coping mechanisms I’d be in a much worse place that I currently am. I need to be strong for myself first and foremost so I can offer the best support and love to my family. I don’t agree with the whole “you need to be strong for your kids, wife, etc” – You need to be strong for YOU because you are the only person you can control the actions and behaviours of. You can influence others but you can only control you. Being strong within yourself and for yourself will naturally lead to positive output for your loved ones.
I’ve taken a little bit of time off work this week to be there for my family and unfortunately our short break away that was planned in for yesterday and today has been cancelled so this weekend will be about resting up, spending time with the loved ones and getting ready for the week ahead. I’m taking a little break from Social Media too whilst I sort my head out but for those who I engage with regularly via the online Recovery Community I thought I’d share a reassuring post as no doubt you’ll be missing my wisdom (Ha!).